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Author:Peterman, William B. 

Working Paper
The Macro Effects of Climate Policy Uncertainty

Uncertainty surrounding if and when the U.S. government will implement a federalclimate policy introduces risk into the decision to invest in capital used in conjunction withfossil fuels. To quantify the macroeconomic impacts of this climate policy risk, we developa dynamic, general equilibrium model that incorporates beliefs about future climate policy.We find that climate policy risk reduces carbon emissions by causing the capital stock toshrink and become relatively cleaner. Our results reveal, however, that a carbon tax couldachieve the same reduction in emissions at less than half the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-06

Working Paper
Recycling Carbon Tax Revenue to Maximize Welfare

This paper explores how to recycle carbon tax revenue back to households to maximize welfare. Using a general equilibrium lifecycle model calibrated to reflect the heterogeneity in the U.S. economy, we find the optimal policy uses two thirds of carbon-tax revenue to reduce the distortionary tax on capital income while the remaining one third is used to increase the progressivity of the labor-income tax. The optimal policy attains higher welfare and more equality than the lump-sum rebate approach preferred by policymakers as well as the approach originally prescribed by economists -- which ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-023

Journal Article
The Economy’s Response to Potential Climate Policy

Uncertainty about U.S. climate policy in the future creates risk that affects the investment decisions businesses make today. If firms expect future policy to raise the cost of carbon emissions, then they could react to this by both shifting investment towards cleaner capital and reducing overall investment. These two responses lead to lower emissions, even if no actual climate policy is in place. Evidence suggests that this risk encourages companies to voluntarily reduce emissions using internal carbon prices and other mechanisms.
FRBSF Economic Letter , Volume 2021 , Issue 16 , Pages 01-05

Working Paper
Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand in the U.S. Before, During and Following the Great Recession

We examine the effect of federal and subnational fiscal policy on aggregate demand in the U.S. by introducing the fiscal effect (FE) measure. FE can be decomposed into three components. Discretionary FE quantifies the effect of discretionary or legislated policy changes on aggregate demand. Cyclical FE captures the effect of the automatic stabilizers--changes in government taxes and spending arising from the business cycle. Residual FE measures the effect of all changes in government revenues and outlays which cannot be categorized as either discretionary or cyclical; for example, it captures ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-061

Working Paper
Optimal Public Debt with Life Cycle Motives

Public debt can be optimal in standard incomplete market models with infinitely lived agents, since the associated capital crowd-out induces a higher interest rate. The higher interest rate encourages individuals to save and, hence, better self-insure against idiosyncratic labor earnings risk. Even though individual savings behavior is a crucial determinant of the optimality of public debt, this class of economies abstracts from empirically observed life cycle savings patterns. Thus, this paper studies how incorporating a life cycle affects optimal public debt. We find that while the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-028

Working Paper
Examining contributions to core consumer inflation measures

The purpose of this paper is to examine the composition of inflation over time. The authors calculate the contributions to inflation for individual series of the consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditures price index (PCEPI) and then aggregate those contributions into major consumer expenditure categories. This technique provides a wealth of information concerning aggregate inflation behavior in a concise way, enabling the authors to describe the composition of inflation at any point in time. A particularly important benefit of this method is that it allows them to ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2004-7

Journal Article
Decomposing inflation

As U.S. core inflation measures have declined in recent years, analysts have renewed their efforts to understand inflation dynamics. A common approach to this issue is to make inferences about how price changes of major components affect the aggregate inflation rate. This article takes a more rigorous approach, calculating and plotting the precise contributions of major consumer expenditure categories to core inflation measures over time. ; This technique has distinct advantages. It highlights the underlying trends in inflation, enabling analysts to make more informed inferences about the ...
Economic Review , Volume 89 , Issue Q 1 , Pages 39 - 51

Working Paper
How Well Did Social Security Mitigate the Effects of the Great Recession?

This paper quantifies the welfare implications of the U.S. Social Security program during the Great Recession. We find that the average welfare losses due to the Great Recession for agents alive at the time of the shock are notably smaller in an economy with Social Security relative to an economy without a Social Security program. Moreover, Social Security is particularly effective at mitigating the welfare losses for agents who are poorer, less productive, or older at the time of the shock. Importantly, in addition to mitigating the welfare losses for these potentially more vulnerable ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-13

Working Paper
The Macro Effects of Climate Policy Uncertainty

Uncertainty surrounding if and when the U.S. government will implement a federal climate policy introduces risk into the decision to invest in capital used in conjunction with fossil fuels. To quantify the macroeconomic impacts of this climate policy risk, we develop a dynamic, general equilibrium model that incorporates beliefs about future climate policy. We find that climate policy risk reduces carbon emissions by causing the capital stock to shrink and become relatively cleaner. Our results reveal, however, that a carbon tax could achieve the same reduction in emissions at less than half ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-018

Working Paper
Taxing Capital? The Importance of How Human Capital is Accumulated

This paper considers the impact of how human capital is accumulated on optimal capital tax policy in a life cycle model. In particular, it compares the optimal capital tax when human capital is accumulated exogenously, endogenously through learning-by-doing, and endogenously through learning-or-doing. Previous work demonstrates that in a simple two generation life cycle model with exogenous human capital accumulation, if the utility function is separable and homothetic in each consumption and labor, then the government has no motive to condition taxes on age or tax capital. In contrast, this ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-117

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