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Jel Classification:H23 

Report
Optimal Policy for Macro-Financial Stability

There is a new and now large literature analyzing government policies for financial stability based on models with endogenous borrowing constraints. These normative analyses build upon the concept of constrained efficient allocation, where the social planner is constrained by the same borrowing limit that agents face. In this paper, we show that the same set of policy tools that implement the constrained efficient allocation can be used by a Ramsey planner to replicate the unconstrained allocation, thus achieving higher welfare. The constrained social planner approach may lead to inaccurate ...
Staff Reports , Paper 899

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

Report
Migration, Congestion Externalities, and the Evaluation of Spatial Investments

The direct benefits of infrastructure in developing countries can be large, but if new infrastructure induces in-migration, congestion of other local publicly provided goods may offset the direct benefits. Using the example of rural household electrification in South Africa, we demonstrate the importance of accounting for migration when evaluating welfare gains of spatial programs. We also provide a practical approach to computing welfare gains that does not rely on land prices. We develop a location choice model that incorporates missing land markets and allows for congestion in local land. ...
Staff Report , Paper 506

Report
Optimal Income Taxation: Mirrlees Meets Ramsey

What structure of income taxation maximizes the social benefits of redistribution while minimizing the social harm associated with distorting the allocation of labor input? Many authors have advocated scrapping the current tax system, which redistributes primarily via marginal tax rates that rise with income, and replacing it with a flat tax system, in which marginal tax rates are constant and redistribution is achieved via non-means-tested transfers. In this paper we compare alternative tax systems in an environment with distinct roles for public and private insurance. We evaluate ...
Staff Report , Paper 507

Working Paper
Counterterrorism Policy: Spillovers, Regime Stability, and Corner Solutions

This paper takes a unique approach to the scenario where a resident terrorist group in a (fragile) developing nation poses a terrorism threat at home and abroad. The host developing nation’s proactive countermeasures against the resident terrorist group not only limits terrorism at home and abroad, but also bolsters regime stability at home. A two-stage game is presented in which the developed country takes a leadership role to institute a tax-subsidy combination to discourage (encourage) proactive measures at home (abroad) in stage 1. Stage 2 involves both nations’ counterterrorism ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-015

Working Paper
Estimating the Tax and Credit-Event Risk Components of Credit Spreads

This paper argues that tax liabilities explain a large fraction of observed short-maturity investment-grade (IG) spreads, but credit-event premia do not. First, we extend Duffie and Lando (2001) by permitting management to issue both debt and equity. Rather than defaulting, managers of IG firms who receive bad private signals conceal this information and service existing debt via new debt issuance. Consistent with empirical observation, this strategy implies that IG firms have virtually zero credit-event risk (at least until they become ?fallen angels"). Second, we provide empirical evidence ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-17

Working Paper
The Heterogeneous Effects of Government Spending : It’s All About Taxes

This paper investigates how government spending multipliers depend on the distribution of taxes across households. We exploit historical variations in the financing of spending in the U.S. since 1913 to show that multipliers are positive only when financed with more progressive taxes, and zero otherwise. We rationalize this finding within a heterogeneous-household model with indivisible labor supply. The model results in a lower labor responsiveness to tax changes for higher-income earners. In turn, spending financed with more progressive taxes induces a smaller crowding-out, and thus larger ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1237

Working Paper
The Distributional Effects of a Carbon Tax on Current and Future Generations

This paper examines the non-environmental welfare effects of introducing a revenue- neutral carbon tax policy. Using a life cycle model, we find that the welfare effects of the policy differ substantially for agents who are alive when the policy is enacted compared to those who are born into the new steady state with the carbon tax in place. Consistent with previous studies, we demonstrate that, for those born in the new steady state, the welfare costs are always lower when the carbon tax revenue is used to reduce an existing distortionary tax as opposed to being returned in the form of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-038

Working Paper
Preventing Controversial Catastrophes

In a market-based democracy, we model different constituencies that disagree regarding the likelihood of economic disasters. Costly public policy initiatives to reduce or eliminate disasters are assessed relative to private alternatives presented by financial markets. Demand for such public policies falls as much as 40% with disagreement, and crowding out by private insurance drives most of the reduction. As support for disaster-reducing policy jumps in periods of disasters, costly policies may be adopted only after disasters occur. In some scenarios constituencies may even demand policies ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-052

Working Paper
Policy Externalities and Banking Integration

Can policies directed at the banking sector in one jurisdiction spill over and affect real economic activity elsewhere? To investigate this question, I exploit changes in tax rates on bank profits across U.S. states. Banks respond by reallocating small-business lending to otherwise unaffected states. Moreover, counties in non-tax-changing states that have more exposure to treated banks experience greater changes in lending, which in turn impacts local employment. The findings demonstrate that policies aimed at the banking sector in one jurisdiction can impose externalities on other regions. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-8

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