Tax Buyouts: Raising Government Revenues without Increasing Labor Tax Distortions
At a time of increasing fiscal pressures both here and abroad, it seems important to consider ways of raising government revenues without discouraging people from working. This post describes a revenue raising plan—a tax “buyout”—that does just that. The buyout would give you, the taxpayer, the option each year of paying a lump sum to the government in exchange for a given reduction in your marginal tax rate that year. In effect, you would use the lump sum payment to buy yourself a lower marginal tax rate, which would in turn give you more incentive to work. The buyout would be risk ...
The paper studies a fiscal policy instrument that can reduce fiscal distortions, without affecting revenues, in a politically viable way. The instrument is a private contract (tax buyout), offered by the government to each individual citizen, whereby the citizen can choose to pay a fixed price up front in exchange for a given reduction in her tax rate for a prespecified period of time. We consider a dynamic overlapping-generations economy, calibrated to match several features of the U.S. income and wealth distribution, and show that, under simple pricing, the introduction of the buyout is ...
Risk sharing: private insurance markets or redistributive taxes?
We explore the welfare consequences of different taxation schemes in an economy where agents are debt-constrained. If agents default on their debt, they are banned from future credit markets, but retain their private endowments which are subject to income taxation. A change in the tax system changes the severity of punishment from default and, hence, leads to a limitation of possible risk sharing via private contracts. The welfare consequences of a change in the tax system depend on the relative magnitudes of increased risk sharing forced by the new tax system and the reduced risk sharing in ...
Macroeconomic Volatility and External Imbalances
Does macroeconomic volatility/uncertainty affect accumulation of net foreign assets? In OECD economies over the period 1970-2012, changes in country specific aggregate volatility are, after controlling for a wide array of factors, significantly positively associated with net foreign asset position. An increase in volatility (measured as the standard deviation of GDP growth) of 0.5% over period of 10 years is associated with an increase in the net foreign assets of around 8% of GDP. A standard open economy model with time varying aggregate uncertainty can quantitatively account for this ...
The 2007?2009 crisis was characterized by an unprecedented degree of international synchronization as all major industrialized countries experienced large macroeconomic contractions around the date of Lehman bankruptcy. At the same time countries also experienced large and synchronized tightening of credit conditions. We present a two-country model with financial market frictions where a credit tightening can emerge as a self-fulfilling equilibrium caused by pessimistic but fully rational expectations. As a result of the credit tightening, countries experience large and endogenously ...
International business cycles with endogenous incomplete markets
Backus, Kehoe and Kydland (1992), Baxter and Crucini (1995) and Stockman and Tesar (1995) find two major discrepancies between standard international business cycle models with complete markets and the data: In the models, cross-country correlations are much higher for consumption than for output, while in the data the opposite is true; and cross-country correlations of employment and investment are negative, while in the data they are positive. This paper introduces a friction into a standard model that helps resolve these anomalies. The friction is that international loans are imperfectly ...
Reverse Speculative Attacks
In January 2015, in the face of sustained capital inflows, the Swiss National Bank abandoned the floor for the Swiss Franc against the Euro, a decision which led to the appreciation of the Swiss Franc. The objective of this paper is to present a simple framework that helps to better understand the timing of this episode, which we label a ?reverse speculative attack?. We model a central bank which wishes to maintain a peg, and responds to increases in demand for domestic currency by expanding its balance sheet. In contrast to the classic speculative attacks, which are triggered by the ...
Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity
The goal of this chapter is to study how, and by how much, household income, wealth, and preference heterogeneity amplify and propagate a macroeconomic shock. We focus on the U.S. Great Recession of 2007-2009 and proceed in two steps. First, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document the patterns of household income, consumption and wealth inequality before and during the Great Recession. We then investigate how households in different segments of the wealth distribution were affected by income declines, and how they changed their expenditures differentially during the ...
Competitive equilibria with limited enforcement
We show how to decentralize constrained efficient allocations that arise from enforcement constraints between sovereign nations. In a pure exchange economy, these allocations can be decentralized with private agents acting competitively and taking as given government default decisions on foreign debt. In an economy with capital, these allocations can be decentralized if the government can tax capital income as well as default on foreign debt. The tax on capital income is needed to make private agents internalize a subtle externality. The decisions of the government can arise as an equilibrium ...
Inequality and redistribution during the Great Recession
In this paper, we explore the impact of the Great Recession on economic inequality and redistribution in the United States. We analyze many sorts of inequality (in earnings, disposable income, consumption expenditures and wealth) for different sections of the economic distribution.