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Author:Violante, Giovanni L. 

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How Should Tax Progressivity Respond to Rising Income Inequality?

We address this question in a heterogeneous-agent incomplete-markets model featuring exogenous idiosyncratic risk, endogenous skill investment, and flexible labor supply. The tax and transfer schedule is restricted to be log-linear in income, a good description of the US system. Rising inequality is modeled as a combination of skill-biased technical change and growth in residual wage dispersion. When facing shifts in the income distribution like those observed in the US, a utilitarian planner chooses higher progressivity in response to larger residual inequality but lower progressivity in ...
Staff Report , Paper 615

Journal Article
Unemployment and vacancy fluctuations in the matching model: inspecting the mechanism

Economic Quarterly , Volume 91 , Issue Sum , Pages 19-50

Report
Optimal Progressivity with Age-Dependent Taxation

This paper studies optimal taxation of labor earnings when the degree of tax progressivity is allowed to vary with age. We analyze this question in a tractable equilibrium overlapping-generations model that incorporates a number of salient trade-offs in tax design. Tax progressivity provides insurance against ex-ante heterogeneity and earnings uncertainty that missing markets fail to deliver. However, taxes distort labor supply and human capital investments. Uninsurable risk cumulates over the life cycle, and thus the welfare gains from income compression via progressive taxation increase ...
Staff Report , Paper 551

Conference Paper
Vintage capital as an origin of inequalities

Does capital-embodied technological change play an important role in shaping labor market inequalities? This paper addresses the question in a model with vintage capital and search / matching frictions where costly capital investment leads to large heterogeneity in productivity among vacancies in equilibrium. The paper first demonstrates analytically how both technology growth and institutional variables affect equilibrium wage inequality, income shares and unemployment. Next, it applies the model to a quantitative evaluation of capital as an origin of wage inequality: at the current rate of ...
Proceedings , Issue Nov

Report
Optimal Tax Progressivity: An Analytical Framework

What shapes the optimal degree of progressivity of the tax and transfer system? On the one hand, a progressive tax system can counteract inequality in initial conditions and substitute for imperfect private insurance against idiosyncratic earnings risk. At the same time, progressivity reduces incentives to work and to invest in skills, and aggravates the externality associated with valued public expenditures. We develop a tractable equilibrium model that features all of these trade-offs. The analytical expressions we derive for social welfare deliver a transparent understanding of how ...
Staff Report , Paper 496

Report
Working hard in the wrong place: a mismatch-based explanation to the UK productivity puzzle

The UK experienced an unusually prolonged stagnation in labor productivity in the aftermath of the Great Recession. This paper analyzes the role of sectoral labor misallocation in accounting for this ?productivity puzzle.? If jobseekers disproportionately search for jobs in sectors where productivity is relatively low, hires are concentrated in the wrong sectors and the post-recession recovery in aggregate productivity can be slow. Our calculations suggest that, quantified at the level of three-digit occupations, this mechanism can explain up to two-thirds of the deviations from trend-growth ...
Staff Reports , Paper 757

Report
Quantitative macroeconomics with heterogeneous households

Macroeconomics is evolving from the study of aggregate dynamics to the study of the dynamics of the entire equilibrium distribution of allocations across individual economic actors. This article reviews the quantitative macroeconomic literature that focuses on household heterogeneity, with a special emphasis on the ?standard? incomplete markets model. We organize the vast literature according to three themes that are central to understanding how inequality matters for macroeconomics. First, what are the most important sources of individual risk and cross-sectional heterogeneity? Second, what ...
Staff Report , Paper 420

Report
Aggregate Recruiting Intensity

We develop an equilibrium model of firm dynamics with random search in the labor market where hiring firms exert recruiting effort by spending resources to fill vacancies faster. Consistent with microevidence, fast-growing firms invest more in recruiting activities and achieve higher job-filling rates. These hiring decisions of firms aggregate into an index of economy-wide recruiting intensity. We study how aggregate shocks transmit to recruiting intensity, and whether this channel can account for the dynamics of aggregate matching efficiency during the Great Recession. Productivity and ...
Staff Report , Paper 553

Report
Mismatch unemployment

We develop a framework where mismatch between vacancies and job seekers across sectors translates into higher unemployment by lowering the aggregate job-finding rate. We use this framework to measure the contribution of mismatch to the recent rise in U.S. unemployment by exploiting two sources of cross-sectional data on vacancies: JOLTS and HWOL (a new database covering the universe of online U.S. job advertisements). Mismatch across industries and occupations explains at most one-third of the total observed increase in the unemployment rate. Geographical mismatch plays no apparent role. ...
Staff Reports , Paper 566

Report
Unequal we stand: an empirical analysis of economic inequality in the United States, 1967-2006

We conduct a systematic empirical study of cross-sectional inequality in the United States, integrating data from the Current Population Survey, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, and the Survey of Consumer Finances. In order to understand how different dimensions of inequality are related via choices, markets, and institutions, we follow the mapping suggested by the household budget constraint from individual wages to individual earnings, to household earnings, to disposable income, and, ultimately, to consumption and wealth. We document a continuous and ...
Staff Report , Paper 436

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