Learning About Consumer Uncertainty from Qualitative Surveys: As Uncertain As Ever
We study diffusion indices constructed from qualitative surveys to provide real-time assessments of various aspects of economic activity. In particular, we highlight the role of diffusion indices as estimates of change in a quasi extensive margin, and characterize their distribution, focusing on the uncertainty implied by both sampling and the polarization of participants' responses. Because qualitative tendency surveys generally cover multiple questions around a topic, a key aspect of this uncertainty concerns the coincidence of responses, or the degree to which polarization comoves, across ...
Is stimulative fiscal policy more effective at the zero lower bound?
Several recent research efforts have found that stimulative fiscal policy ? government spending or tax cuts ? can have unusual effects when nominal interest rates are as low as they are today. In particular, some studies have found that the government spending "multiplier" can be much larger at the zero lower bound. Despite these results, some caution is due when interpreting the size of the fiscal multiplier.
Stark optimal fiscal policies and sovereign lending
Productivity, employment, and inventories
Marshall made at least four contributions to the classical quantity theory. He endowed it with his Cambridge cash-balance money-supply-and-demand framework to explain how the nominal money supply relative to real money demand determines the price level. He combined it with the assumption of purchasing power parity to explain (i) the international distribution of world money under metallic standards and fixed exchange rates, and (ii) exchange rate determination under floating rates and inconvertible paper currencies. He paired it with the idea of money wage and/or interest rate stickiness in ...
Growth effects of progressive taxes
The authors study the effects of progressive taxes in conventional endogenous growth models augmented to include heterogeneous households. In contrast to representative agent models with flat-rate taxes, this framework allows us to distinguish between marginal tax rates and the empirical proxies that are typically used for these rates such as the share of tax revenue, or government expenditures, in GDP. The analysis then illustrates how the endogenous nature of these proxy variables causes them to be weakly correlated, or even increase, with economic growth. This study, therefore, helps ...
Growth effects of progressive taxes
Criticisms of endogenous growth models with flat rate taxes have highlighted two features that are not substantiated by the data. These models generally imply: (1) that economic growth must fall with the share of government expenditures in output across countries, and (2) that one-time shifts in marginal tax rates should instantaneously lead to similar shifts in output growth. In contrast, we show that allowing for heterogeneous households and progressive taxes into otherwise conventional linear growth models radically changes these predictions. In particular, economic growth does not have to ...
Optimal public investment with and without government commitment
We analyze the problem of optimal public investment when government purchases of productive capital assets are financed through income taxes. Virtually all previous work in this literature has prescribed a share of public investment in GDP that is both constant and time consistent. This paper shows that this straightforward prescription derives from specific assumptions relating to preferences and technology. In a more general framework, the optimal policy is neither constant nor time consistent. With full commitment, a policymaker will typically choose a tax rate, or alternatively a share of ...