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Creator: Krusell, Per and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
Some economic policies and regulations seem to have only one purpose: to prevent technological development and economic growth from occurring. In this paper, we attempt to rationalize such policies as outcomes of voting equilibria. In our environment, some agents will be worse off if the economy grows, since their skills are complementary to resources that can be allocated to growth-stimulating activities. In the absence of arrangements where votes are traded, we show that for some initial skill distributions, the economy may stagnate due to growth-preventing policies. Different initial skill distributions, however, lead to voting outcomes and policies in support of technological development, and to persistent economic growth. In making our argument formally, we use a dynamic model with induced heterogeneity in agents' skills. In their voting decisions, agents compare how they will be affected under each policy alternative, and then vote for the policy that maximizes their welfare.
Tema: O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models and O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Creator: Krusell, Per, Quadrini, Vincenzo, and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Lucas expectations anniversary conference Abstract:
We use political-equilibrium theory and the neoclassical growth model to compare the quantitative properties of different tax systems. We first explore whether societies which can only use consumption taxes fare better than societies which can only use income taxes. We find that if government outlays are used mainly for redistribution through transfers, then the answer is no, contradicting conventional wisdom in public finance. The reason for this is that when taxes are endogenous, and voted on by a selfish constituency, the distortionary effects of taxation are taken into account in choosing the level of taxation. Hence, political equilibria have the property that taxes which are relatively distortionary will be relatively low. These results are overturned if the government outlays are used only for the providing of public goods, implying that less distortionary taxes give better outcomes. We also investigate the properties of a tax systems in which both consumption and income taxes are used and voted on simultaneously. Since the ability to use more tax instruments allows redistribution with less distortions, the total amount of transfers tends to be higher here than in one-tax systems. Typically, tax systems tend to be self-perpetuating in the sense that changes of the tax system result in a reduction in the welfare of the median voter.
Palabra clave: Tax system, Tax, Consumption tax, Taxes, and Income tax Tema: E62 - Fiscal Policy, H24 - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes, and H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT)
Creator: Krusell, Per, Ohanian, Lee E., Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 239 Abstract:
The notion of skilled-biased technological change is often held responsible for the recent behavior of the U.S. skill premium, or the ratio between the wages of skilled and unskilled labor. This paper develops a framework for understanding this notion in terms of observable variables and uses the framework to evaluate the fraction of the skill premium's variation that is caused by changes in observables. A version of the neoclassical growth model is used in which the key feature of aggregate technology is capital-skill complementarity: the elasticity of substitution is higher between capital equipment and unskilled labor than between capital equipment and skilled labor. With this feature, changes in observables can account for nearly all the variation in the skill premium over the last 30 years. This finding suggests that increased wage inequality results from economic growth driven by new, efficient technologies embodied in capital equipment.
Palabra clave: Technological change, Wage inequality, and Capital-skill complementarity
Creator: Krusell, Per and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 234 Abstract:
We study a dynamic version of Meltzer and Richard’s median-voter analysis of the size of government. Taxes are proportional to total income, and they are used for government consumption, which is exogenous, and for lump-sum transfers, whose size is chosen by electoral vote. Votes take place sequentially over time, and each agent votes for the policy that maximizes his equilibrium utility. We calibrate the model and its income and wealth distribution to match postwar U.S. data. This allows a quantitative assessment of the equilibrium costs of redistribution, which involves distortions to the labor-leisure and consumption-savings choices, and of its benefits for the decisive voter. We find that the total size of transfers predicted by our political-economy model is quite close to the size of transfers in the data.
Tema: P16 - Capitalist Systems: Political Economy, O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, and H11 - Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government