Working paper 220 was presented at The Economic Consequences of Government Deficits: an Economic Policy Conference, cosponsored by the Center for the Study of American Business and the Institute of Banking and Financial Markets at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, October 29-30, 1982.
This paper investigates the macroeconomic and welfare effects of a particular public finance decision. That decision was to use debt rather than current taxation to finance deposit insurance payments related to the savings and loan debacle. We find that this decision could have significantly raised real interest rates and affected welfare. The analysis is conducted in a dynamic, open-economy, monetary general equilibrium model in which parameters are set based on empirical observations.
This paper investigates the effects of changes in a country's monetary policies on its economy and the welfare of its citizens and those of other countries. Each country is populated by two-period lived overlapping agents who reside in either a home service sector or a world-traded good sector. Policy effects are transmitted through changes in the real interest rate, relative prices, and price levels. Welfare effects are sometimes dominated by relative price movements and can thus be opposite of those found in one-good models. Simulation of dynamic paths also reveals that welfare effects for some types of agents reverse between those born in immediate post-shock periods and those born later.
This study examines the shape of an optimal income tax schedule in a monetary economy. In equilibrium, money’s role is to allocate resources across generations, while a tax-transfer scheme serves as a form of social insurance. It is found that the optimal real income tax with money can be progressive.
This paper presents a new method for predicting turning points. The paper formally defines a turning point; develops a probit model for estimating the probability of a turning point; and then examines both the in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting performance of the model. The model performs better than some other methods for predicting turning points.
Trade protection remains a prominent feature of the current world economy and likely has significant effects on industries and macroeconomies. In this paper a particular type of policy, price supports, is analyzed in a two-country, dynamic, general equilibrium model. This model brings new perspectives to the analysis in that it is monetary and has labor mobility within countries between the traded-goods and non–traded-goods sectors. It is found that: (1) The introduction of price supports in an economy benefits only the agents currently working in the traded-goods sector. (2) Cooperation among countries in setting policies results in a higher level of price supports than does noncooperation. (3) Price-support policies can importantly affect the transmission of monetary policy effects, introducing permanent changes in real variables where there were none before and even reversing the signs of changes in some variables.
In this study we contrast fixed and floating exchange rate regimes in a dynamic general equilibrium model. We find that the fundamental difference in the regimes is in the courses they imply for monetary policies. Because of policy coordination requirements, a tighter monetary policy needed to maintain a fixed exchange rate may necessitate a tightening in budget policy as well. We show that under some initial conditions voters or a social planner will favor one regime, but under other conditions they will favor the other. However, the choices of voters and a social planner are almost diametrically opposed.
The welfare-maximizing income tax structure, rate of money creation, and amounts of intergenerational transfers are jointly determined for given rates of government consumption. When government consumption is zero, it is found for the parameter values examined that the income tax structure is progressive, the rate of money change is negative, and positive transfers are made to the old. As government consumption increases, the tax structure’s progressivity declines and turns increasingly regressive, the rate of money change rises, and transfers decrease. It is found that the bulk of the increase in government consumption is optimally financed by a cut in transfers.
We present a 2-country model with heterogeneous agents in which changes in a country’s monetary policy affect real interest rates, relative prices of traded and nontraded goods and real exchange rates. Nontransitory real effects of monetary policy stem solely from a friction (country-specific reserve requirements) that generates separate demands for a country’s money and bonds. Without violating the classical assumptions of individual rationality and flexible prices, the model’s implications seem qualitatively in accord with the U.S. experience of the 1980s: a monetary policy tightening leading to a rise in the real interest rate and to an initial rise in the real value of the dollar which is subsequently reversed. In the model a monetary policy change leads to different welfare effects for agents born at different times, living in different countries, or participating on different sides of a market. The welfare of some agents can be affected more by relative price changes than by real interest rate changes.
Using a simple model, we show why previous empirical studies of budget policy effects are flawed. Due to an identification problem, those studies’ findings can be shown to be consistent with either policies mattering or not.
The relative efficiency of alternative income tax systems is analyzed in a dynamic, general equilibrium model having an endogenous labor supply and imperfect risk sharing. This theoretical model allows different tax systems to be compared with respect to their labor distortion effects, their automatic income stability properties, and the welfare they provide on average to a representative consumer-laborer. The comparisons are done for the optimal tax parameters under each given tax system. Despite a role for income stabilization, the optimal income tax schedule turns out to be regressive.
This paper reviews selected studies in the theory of macroeconomic stabilization policy and summarizes their key findings. A simple model is constructed which includes all surveyed models as special cases. All solutions are derived and described step by step.
In a model which exhibits many monetarist properties it is shown that monetary and fiscal policies must be coordinated. The model is populated by overlapping generations of three-period lived agents who can hold fiat money, fiat bonds, and physical capital. A government produces a public good and issues both money and fiat bonds to finance permanent budget deficits. In this model both fiat money and fiat bonds can have value in equilibrium, and their co-existence can allow a more efficient financing of deficits than can a single debt instrument.
The analyses of fiscal and monetary policies that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides Congress tend to be biased, encouraging the use of activist stabilization policies. The CBO’s virtual neglect of economic uncertainties and its emphasis on very short time horizons make active policies appear much more attractive than its own model implies. Moreover, the CBO’s adoption of the macroeconometric approach fundamentally biases its analyses. Macroeconometric models do not remain invariant to changes in policy rules and are mute on the implications of alternative policies for efficiency and income distribution. The rational expectations equilibrium approach overcomes these difficulties and implies that less activist and less inflationary policies are desirable.
Doan, Litterman, and Sims (DLS) have suggested using conditional forecasts to do policy analysis with Bayesian vector autoregression (BVAR) models. Their method seems to violate the Lucas critique, which implies that coefficients of a BVAR model will change when there is a change in policy rules. In this paper we construct a BVAR macro model and attempt to determine whether the Lucas critique is important quantitatively. We find evidence following two candidate policy rule changes of significant coefficient instability and of a deterioration in the performance of the DLS method.