The Dynamic Effects of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Changes in the United States: Reply to Jentsch and Lunsford
In this reply to a comment by Jentsch and Lunsford, we show that, when focusing on the relevant impulse responses, the evidence for economic and statistically significant macroeconomic effects of tax changes in Mertens and Ravn (2013) remains present for a range of asymptotically valid inference methods.
Sovereign Risk and Fiscal Information: A Look at the U.S. State Default of the 1840s
This paper examines how newspaper reporting affects government bond prices during the U.S. state default of the 1840s. Using unsupervised machine learning algorithms, the paper first constructs novel ``fiscal information indices'' for state governments based on U.S. newspapers at the time. The impact of the indices on government bond prices varied over time. Before the crisis, the entry of new western states into the bond market spurred competition: more state-specific fiscal news imposed downward pressure on bond prices for established states in the market. During the crisis, more ...
Optimal Taxes Under Private Information: The Role of the Inflation Tax
We consider an overlapping generation framework with search and private information to study optimal taxation. Agents sequentially trade in markets that are characterized by different frictions and trading protocols. In frictional decentralized markets, agents receive shocks that determine if they are going to be consumers or producers. Shocks are private information. Mechanism design is used to solve for the constrained optimal allocation. We then study whether a government can replicate the constrained optimal allocation with an array of policy instruments including fiat money. We show that ...
Flight to Liquidity or Safety? Recent Evidence from the Municipal Bond Market
We examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent monetary and fiscal policy actions on municipal bond market pricing. Using high-frequency trading data, we estimate key policy events at the peak of the crisis by focusing on a sample of bonds within a narrow window before and after each policy event. We find that policy interventions, in particular those with explicit credit backstops, were effective in alleviating municipal bond market stress. Next, we exploit daily variation in traded municipal bonds and virus exposure across U.S. counties. We find a shift in how bond investors ...
Seigniorage and Sovereign Default: The Response of Emerging Markets to COVID-19
Monetary policy affects the tradeoffs faced by governments in sovereign default models. In the absence of lump-sum taxation, governments rely on both disortionary taxes and seigniorage to finance expenditure. Furthermore, monetary policy adds a time-consistency problem in debt choice, which may mitigate or exacerbate the incentives to accumulate debt. A deterioration of the terms-of-trade leads to an increase in sovereign-default risk and inflation, and a reduction in growth, which are consistent with the empirical evidence for emerging economies. An unanticipated shock resembling the ...
Expectations-Driven Liquidity Traps: Implications for Monetary and Fiscal Policy
We study optimal monetary and fiscal policy in a New Keynesian model where occasional declines in agents' confidence give rise to persistent liquidity trap episodes. There is no straightforward recipe for enhancing welfare in this economy. Raising the inflation target or appointing an inflation-conservative central banker mitigates the inflation shortfall away from the lower bound but exacerbates deflationary pressures at the lower bound. Using government spending as an additional policy instrument worsens allocations at and away from the lower bound. However, appointing a policymaker who is ...
Domestic Policies and Sovereign Default
This paper incorporates fiscal and monetary policies into a model of sovereign default. In addition to the standard present-bias vs default-risk tradeoff faced by governments when choosing debt, distortionary policy instruments introduce an intertemporal tradeoff, which may mitigate or exacerbate the incentives to accumulate debt. Taxation, the money growth rate and currency depreciation all increase with the level of debt. The model reproduces standard business cycle statistics, the response of spreads, inflation and growth to terms-of-trade shocks, and the cyclical properties of fiscal and ...
Possible Fiscal Policies for Rare, Unanticipated and Severe Viral Outbreaks
What should guide a fiscal authority in conducting macroeconomic policy in the event of a severe viral outbreak?
Capital Gains Taxation and Investment Dynamics
This paper quantifies the long-run effects of reducing capital gains taxes on aggregate investment. We develop a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms, which face discrete capital gains tax rates based on firm size. We calibrate our model by targeting micro moments and a difference-in-differences estimate of the capital stock response based on the institutional setting and policy reform in Korea. We find that the reform that reduced the capital gains tax rates for a subset of firms substantially increased investment in the short run, and capturing general equilibrium ...
Liquidity Premiums on Government Debt and the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level
We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model where agents use nominal government bonds as collateral in secured lending arrangements. If the collateral constraint binds, agents price in a liquidity premium on bonds that lowers the real rate on bonds. In equilibrium, the price level is determined according to the fiscal theory of the price level. However, the market value of government debt exceeds its fundamental value. We then examine the dynamic properties of the model and show that the market value of the government debt can fluctuate even though there are no changes to current or ...