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Keywords:Incomplete Markets 

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 (modified golden rule) level of aggregate capital stock in an infinite-horizon heterogeneous-agents incomplete-markets economy where capital may be 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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-002

Working Paper
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) In the absence of any redistributional effects of capital taxation or lump-sum transfers, the optimal capital tax is exclusively zero in a Ramsey steady state regardless of the modified golden rule (MGR) and government debt limits. (ii) Whether the MGR holds or not depends ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-007

Working Paper
The Determination of Public Debt under both Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Uncertainty

We use an analytically tractable model to show that the Ramsey planner's decisions to finance stochastic public expenditures under uninsurable idiosyncratic risk implies a departure from tax smoothing. In the absence of state-contingent bonds the government's attempt to balance the competing incentives between tax smoothing and individual consumption smoothing---even at the cost of extra tax distortion---implies a bounded stochastic unit root component in optimal taxes. Nonetheless, a sufficiently high average level of public debt to support individuals’ self-insurance position is welfare ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-038

Working Paper
Are Government Bonds Net Wealth or a Liability? ---Optimal Debt and Taxes in an OLG Model with Uninsurable Income Risk

A positive national debt is often rationalized either by the assumption of dynamic inefficiency in an overlapping-generations (OLG) model, or by the hypothesis of heterogeneous-agents and incomplete-markets (HAIM) in an infinite horizon model. Both assumptions imply insufficient private liquidity to support private saving and investment, thus calling for a positive level of public debt to improve social welfare. However, since public debt is financed often by distortionary future taxes, optimal debt and tax policies ought to be studied jointly in a single framework. In this paper we use a ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-007

Working Paper
Are Government Bonds Net Wealth or a Liability? ---Optimal Debt and Taxes in an OLG Model with Uninsurable Income Risk

A positive national debt is often rationalized either by the assumption of dynamic inefficiency in an overlapping-generations (OLG) model, or by the hypothesis of heterogeneous-agents and incomplete-markets (HAIM) in an infinite horizon model. Both assumptions imply insufficient private liquidity to support private saving and investment, thus calling for a positive level of public debt to improve social welfare. However, since public debt is financed often by distortionary future taxes, optimal debt and tax policies ought to be studied jointly in a single framework. In this paper we use a ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-007

Working Paper
Are Government Bonds Net Wealth or a Liability? ---Optimal Debt and Taxes in an OLG Model with Uninsurable Income Risk

The rapidly growing national debt in the U.S. since the 1970s has alarmed and intrigued the academic world. Consequently, the concept of dynamic (in)efficiency in an overlapping generations (OLG) world and the importance of the heterogeneous-agents and incomplete markets (HAIM) hypothesis to justify a high debt-to-GDP ratio have been extensively studied. Two important consensus emerge from this literature: (i) The optimal quantity of public debt is positive—due to insufficient private liquidity to support private saving and investment (see, e.g., Barro (1974), Woodford (1990), and Aiyagari ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-007

Working Paper
The Politics of Flat Taxes

We study the political determination of flat tax systems using a workhorse macroeconomic model of inequality. There is significant variation in preferred tax policy across the wealth and income distribution. The majority voting outcome features (i) zero labor income taxation, (ii) simultaneous use of capital income and consumption taxation, and (iii) essentially zero transfers. This policy is supported by a coalition of low- and middle-wealth households. Zero labor income taxation is supported by households with below average wealth, while the middle-wealth households prefer to keep the ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-42R2

Working Paper
Assessing Bankruptcy Reform in a Model with Temptation and Equilibrium Default

A life-cycle model with equilibrium default in which agents with and without temptation coexist is constructed to evaluate the 2005 bankruptcy law reform. The calibrated model indicates that the 2005 reform reduces bankruptcies, as seen in the data, and improves welfare, as lower default premia allows better consumption smoothing. A counterfactual reform of changing income garnishment rate is also investigated. Interesting contrasting welfare effects between two types of agents emerge. Agents with temptation prefer a lower garnishment rate as tighter borrowing constraint prevents them from ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-21

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 dominate incentive to issue plenty of debt, such that all households are fully self-insured against idiosyncratic risk whenever the interest rate of government borrowing is lower than the household time discount rate. But such a full self-insurance allocation may be paradoxical because, to ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-037

Working Paper
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 the Ramsey steady state and establish several novel results: (i) The failure of the modified golden rule (MGR) cannot by itself justify a positive steady-state capital tax---we prove that in the absence of wealth-redistribution effects the optimal capital tax is exclusively zero in the Ramsey steady state regardless of the validity of ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-007

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