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Jel Classification:H21 

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

Working Paper
Optimal Taxation with Endogenous Default under Incomplete Markets

How are the optimal tax and debt policies affected if the government has the option to default on its debt? We address this question from a normative perspective in an economy with noncontingent government debt, domestic default and labor taxes. On one hand, default prevents the government from incurring future tax distortions that would come along with the service of the debt. On the other hand, default risk gives rise to endogenous credit limits that hinder the government's ability to smooth taxes. We characterize the fiscal policy and show how the option to default alters the near-unit ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1297

Working Paper
Capital Taxation with Heterogeneous Discounting and Collateralized Borrowing

We study optimal long-run capital taxation in a closed economy with heterogeneity in agents' time-discount factors where borrowing is allowed but restricted by a collateral constraint. Financial frictions distort intertemporal optimization margins and the tax system serves a dual role: first, it is used to finance government consumption; second, it serves to alleviate the distortions arising from the binding collateral constraint. The discrepancy between the private and the social discount factors pushes for a subsidy on capital, while the discrepancy introduced by the collateral constraint ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-053

Working Paper
Time-Inconsistent Optimal Quantity of Debt

A key property of the Aiyagari-type heterogeneous-agent models is that the equilibrium interest rate of public debt lies below the time discount rate. This fundamental property, however, implies that the Ramsey planner’s fiscal policy may be time-inconsistent because the forward-looking planner would have a dominant incentive to issue plenty of debt such that all households are fully self-insured against idiosyncratic risk. But such a full self-insurance allocation may be paradoxical because, to achieve it, the optimal labor tax rate may approach 100% and aggregate consumption may approach ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-037

Working Paper
Optimal Need-Based Financial Aid

We study the optimal design of student financial aid as a function of parental income. We derive optimal financial aid formulas in a general model. For a simple model version, we derive mild conditions on primitives under which poorer students receive more aid even without distributional concerns. We quantitatively extend this result to an empirical model of selection into college for the United States that comprises multidimensional heterogeneity, endogenous parental transfers, dropout, labor supply in college, and uncertain returns. Optimal financial aid is strongly declining in parental ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 14

Working Paper
Optimal Time-Consistent Taxation with Default

We study optimal time-consistent distortionary taxation when the repayment of government debt is not enforceable. The government taxes labor income or issues noncontingent debt in order to finance an exogenous stream of stochastic government expenditures. The government can repudiate its debt subject to some default costs, thereby introducing some state-contingency to debt. We are motivated by the fact that domestic sovereign default is an empirically relevant phenomenon, as Reinhart and Rogoff (2011) demonstrated. Optimal policy is characterized by two opposing incentives: an incentive to ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2017-12

Working Paper
Should Capital Be Taxed?

We design an infinite-horizon heterogeneous-agents and incomplete-markets model to demonstrate analytically that in the absence of any redistributional effects of government policies, optimal capital tax is zero despite capital overaccumulation under precautionary savings and borrowing constraints. Our result indicates that public debt is a better tool than capital taxation to restore aggregate productive efficiency.
Working Papers , Paper 2020-033

Working Paper
Optimal time-consistent government debt maturity

The current literature on a government's optimal debt maturity structure contends that by purchasing short-term assets and selling long-term debt, it is possible to fully insulate the economy against fiscal shocks. The required short and long positions are large relative to GDP and constant. The market value of debt adjusts automatically and the constant debt positions and fluctuating bond prices insulate against potential shocks. However, achieving the goal of averting future shocks depends on the government perfectly committing to the future fiscal policy, for without this sustained ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-4

Working Paper
Optimal Fiscal Policies under Market Failures

The aggregate capital stock in a nation can be overaccumulated for many different reasons. This paper studies which policy or policy mix is more effective in achieving the socially optimal (golden rule) level of aggregate capital stock in an infinite-horizon heterogeneous-agents incomplete-markets economy where capital is over-accumulated for two distinct reasons: (i) precautionary savings and (ii) production externalities. By solving the Ramsey problem analytically along the entire transitional path, we show that public debt and capital taxation play very distinct roles in dealing with the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-002

Report
Comment on Iovino, La’O and Mascarenhas, “Optimal Monetary Policy and Disclosure with an Informationally-Constrained Central Banker”

Iovino, La’O and Mascarenhas (forthcoming) ask two important questions regarding the optimal conduct of monetary policy: Should the central bank’s policy depend on information the central bank has that is not available to markets? And should the central bank disclose information that it has but market participants do not? Iovino, La’O and Mascarenhas answer these questions using a simple, stylized model with one-period price stickiness. They show that efficient equilibria can be sustained regardless of whether policy depends on the central bank’s information and regardless of its ...
Staff Report , Paper 628

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