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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
Local and Aggregate Fiscal Policy Multipliers
In this paper, we estimate the effect of defense spending on the U.S. macroeconomy since World War II. First, we construct a new panel dataset of state-level federal defense contracts. Second, we sum observations across states and, using the resulting time series, estimate the aggregate effect of defense spending on national income and employment via instrumental variables. Third, we estimate local multipliers using the state-level data, which measures the relative effect on economic activity due to relative differences in defense spending across states. Comparing the aggregate and local ...
How Taxes and Required Returns Drove Commercial Real Estate Valuations over the Past Four Decades
We document the evolution of U.S. tax law regarding commercial real estate (CRE) since 1975, noting changes in income and capital gains tax rates and tax depreciation methods. The most prominent changes were the 1981 and 1986 Tax Acts, but numerous significant changes occurred in the last dozen years. We then compute the present value of tax depreciation per dollar of acquisition price and an effective tax rate for CRE. We explain the quarterly variation in CRE capitalization rates using an error correction framework and find that the long run estimates are statistically significant in the ...
Did Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Create Jobs and Stimulate Growth? Early Evidence Using State-Level Variation in Tax Changes
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 is the most extensive overhaul of the U.S. income tax code since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Existing estimates of TCJA’s economic impact are based on economic projections using pre-TCJA estimates of tax effects. Following recent pioneering work of Zidar (2019), I exploit plausibly exogenous state-level variation in tax changes and find that an income tax cut equaling 1 percent of GDP led to a 1 percentage point higher nominal GDP growth and about 0.3 percentage point faster job growth in 2018.
U.S. Federal Debt Has Increased, but Appears Sustainable for Now
The unprecedented fiscal stimulus packages that Congress passed earlier this year provided timely assistance to households and businesses, but also led to a sharp increase in U.S. federal government debt. We find that the current net federal debt level of about 100 percent of GDP does not pose a threat to fiscal sustainability. Over a longer horizon, debt sustainability will depend, to a large extent, on whether the federal government can curb mandatory spending or raise taxes.
Fiscal Stimulus and Commercial Bank Lending Under COVID-19
We investigate the implications of extra-normal government spending under the COVID-19 pandemic for commercial bank lending growth between 2019Q4 and 2020Q4 in a large sample of over 3000 banks from 71 countries. We control for pre-pandemic structural factors, bank characteristics and government debt. To address the likely endogeneity of government assistance under the pandemic, we instrument for extra-normal spending using disparities in pre-existing national political characteristics for identification. Our results indicate that while higher government spending was associated with higher ...
Don’t Tax Capital — Optimal Ramsey Taxation in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Quasi-Linear Preferences
We build a tractable heterogeneous-agent incomplete-markets model with quasi-linear preferences to address a set of long-standing issues in the optimal Ramsey taxation literature. The tractability of our model enables us to analytically prove the existence of a Ramsey steady state and establish several novel results: (i) Depending on the government's capacity to issue debt, there can exist different types of Ramsey steady states but they have the same implications for optimal long-run tax policies. (ii) The optimal capital tax is exclusively zero in a Ramsey steady state regardless of the ...