Creator: Chen, Daphne, Guvenen, Fatih, Kambourov, Gueorgui, Kuruscu, Burhanettin, and Ocampo, Sergio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 764 Abstract:
How does wealth taxation differ from capital income taxation? When the return on investment is equal across individuals, a well-known result is that the two tax systems are equivalent. Motivated by recent empirical evidence documenting persistent heterogeneity in rates of return across individuals, we revisit this question. With such heterogeneity, the two tax systems have opposite implications for both efficiency and inequality. Under capital income taxation, entrepreneurs who are more productive, and therefore generate more income, pay higher taxes. Under wealth taxation, entrepreneurs who have similar wealth levels pay similar taxes regardless of their productivity, which expands the tax base, shifts the tax burden toward unproductive entrepreneurs, and raises the savings rate of productive ones. This reallocation increases aggregate productivity and output. In the simulated model parameterized to match the US data, replacing the capital income tax with a wealth tax in a revenue-neutral fashion delivers a significantly higher average lifetime utility to a newborn (about 7.5% in consumption-equivalent terms). Turning to optimal taxation, the optimal wealth tax (OWT) in a stationary equilibrium is positive and yields even larger welfare gains. In contrast, the optimal capital income tax (OCIT) is negative—a subsidy—and large, and it delivers lower welfare gains than the wealth tax. Furthermore, the subsidy policy increases consumption inequality, whereas the wealth tax reduces it slightly. We also consider an extension that models the transition path and find that individuals who are alive at the time of the policy change, on average, would incur large welfare losses if the new policy is OCIT but would experience large welfare gains if the new policy is an OWT. We conclude that wealth taxation has the potential to raise productivity while simultaneously reducing consumption inequality.
Keyword: Capital income tax, Wealth taxation, Wealth inequality, Power law models, and Rate of return heterogeneity Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation, E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Bianchi, Javier, Ottonello, Pablo, and Presno, Ignacio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 762 Abstract:
The excess procyclicality of fiscal policy is commonly viewed as a central malaise in emerging economies. We document that procyclicality is more pervasive in countries with higher sovereign risk and provide a model of optimal fiscal policy with nominal rigidities and endogenous sovereign default that can account for this empirical pattern. Financing a fiscal stimulus is costly for risky countries and can render countercyclical policies undesirable, even in the presence of large Keynesian stabilization gains. We also show that imposing austerity can backfire by exacerbating the exposure to default, but a well-designed "fiscal forward guidance" can help reduce the excess procyclicality.
Keyword: Procyclicality, Fiscal stabilization policy, and Sovereign default Subject (JEL): F44 - International Business Cycles, H50 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: General, E62 - Fiscal Policy, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, and F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
Creator: Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel, Karabarbounis, Loukas, and Kekre, Rohan Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 758 Abstract:
The Greek economy experienced a boom until 2007, followed by a prolonged depression resulting in a 25 percent shortfall of GDP by 2016. Informed by a detailed analysis of macroeconomic patterns in Greece, we estimate a rich dynamic general equilibrium model to assess quantitatively the sources of the boom and bust. Lower external demand for traded goods and contractionary fiscal policies account for the largest fraction of the Greek depression. A decline in total factor productivity, due primarily to lower factor utilization, substantially amplifies the depression. Given the significant adjustment of prices and wages observed throughout the cycle, a nominal devaluation would only have short-lived stabilizing effects. By contrast, shifting the burden of adjustment away from taxes toward spending or away from capital taxes toward other taxes would generate longer-term production and consumption gains. Eliminating the rise in transfers to households during the boom would significantly reduce the burden of tax adjustment in the bust and the magnitude of the depression.
Keyword: Greek depression, Taxes, Fiscal policy, Nominal rigidity, and Productivity Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E62 - Fiscal Policy, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data)
Creator: Chari, V. V., Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 752 Abstract:
We revisit the question of how capital should be taxed, arguing that if governments are allowed to use the kinds of tax instruments widely used in practice, for preferences that are standard in the macroeconomic literature, the optimal approach is to never distort capital accumulation. We show that the results in the literature that lead to the presumption that capital ought to be taxed for some time arise because of the initial confiscation of wealth and because the tax system is restricted.
Keyword: Long run, Capital income tax, and Uniform taxation Subject (JEL): E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Karabarbounis, Loukas and Neiman, Brent Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 749 Abstract:
Comparing U.S. GDP to the sum of measured payments to labor and imputed rental payments to capital results in a large and volatile residual or “factorless income.” We analyze three common strategies of allocating and interpreting factorless income, speciﬁcally that it arises from economic proﬁts (Case Π), unmeasured capital (Case K), or deviations of the rental rate of capital from standard measures based on bond returns (Case R). We are skeptical of Case Π as it reveals a tight negative relationship between real interest rates and markups, leads to large ﬂuctuations in inferred factor-augmenting technologies, and results in markups that have risen since the early 1980s but that remain lower today than in the 1960s and 1970s. Case K shows how unmeasured capital plausibly accounts for all factorless income in recent decades, but its value in the 1960s would have to be more than half of the capital stock, which we ﬁnd less plausible. We view Case R as most promising as it leads to more stable factor shares and technology growth than the other cases, though we acknowledge that it requires an explanation for the pattern of deviations from common measures of the rental rate. Using a model with multiple sectors and types of capital, we show that our assessment of the drivers of changes in output, factor shares, and functional inequality depends critically on the interpretation of factorless income.
Keyword: Return to capital, Missing capital, Profits, and Factor shares Subject (JEL): E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Cavallo, Michele, Del Negro, Marco, Frame, W. Scott, Grasing, Jamie, Malin, Benjamin A., and Rosa, Carlo Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 747 Abstract:
The paper surveys the recent literature on the fiscal implications of central bank balance sheets, with a special focus on political economy issues. It then presents the results of simulations that describe the effects of different scenarios for the Federal Reserve's longer-run balance sheet on its earnings remittances to the U.S. Treasury and, more broadly, on the government's overall fiscal position. We find that reducing longer-run reserve balances from $2.3 trillion (roughly the current amount) to $1 trillion reduces the likelihood of posting a quarterly net loss in the future from 30 percent to under 5 percent. Further reducing longer-run reserve balances from $1 trillion to pre-crisis levels has little effect on the likelihood of net losses.
Keyword: Central bank balance sheets, Remittances, and Monetary policy Subject (JEL): E59 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: Other, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, and E69 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: Other
Creator: Hevia, Constantino and Nicolini, Juan Pablo Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 744 Abstract:
In this paper, we use a simple model of money demand to characterize the behavior of monetary aggregates in the United States from 1960 to 2016. We argue that the demand for the currency component of the monetary base has been remarkably stable during this period. We use the model to make projections of the nominal quantity of cash in circulation under alternative future paths for the federal funds rate. Our calculations suggest that if the federal funds rate is lifted up as suggested by the survey of economic projections made by the members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the fall in total currency demanded in the next two years ranges between 50 and 200 billion. Our discussion suggests that specific measures by the Federal Reserve to absorb that cash could be worth considering to make the future path of the price level consistent with the price stability mandate.
Keyword: Money demand, Inflation, and Currency in circulation Subject (JEL): E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers, E41 - Demand for Money, and E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
Creator: Crouzet, Nicolas and Mehrotra, Neil R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 741 Abstract:
Drawing from confidential firm-level data of US manufacturing firms, we provide new evidence on the cyclicality of small and large firms. We show that the cyclicality of sales and investment declines with firm size. The effect is primarily driven by differences between the top 0.5% of firms and the rest. Moreover, we show that, due to the skewness of sales and investment, the higher cyclicality of small firms has a negligible influence on the behavior of aggregates. We argue that the size asymmetry is unlikely to be driven by financial frictions given 1) the absence of statistically significant differences in the behavior of production inputs or debt in recessions, 2) the survival of the size effect after directly controlling for proxies of financial strength, and 3) the predictions of a simple financial frictions model, in which unconstrained (large) firms contract more in recessions than constrained (small) firms.
Keyword: Financial accelerator, Firm size, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, G30 - Corporate Finance and Governance: General, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 733 Abstract:
By how much does an extension of unemployment benefits affect macroeconomic outcomes such as unemployment? Answering this question is challenging because U.S. law extends benefits for states experiencing high unemployment. We use data revisions to decompose the variation in the duration of benefits into the part coming from actual differences in economic conditions and the part coming from measurement error in the real-time data used to determine benefit extensions. Using only the variation coming from measurement error, we find that benefit extensions have a limited influence on state-level macroeconomic outcomes. We use our estimates to quantify the effects of the increase in the duration of benefits during the Great Recession and find that they increased the unemployment rate by at most 0.3 percentage point.
Keyword: Unemployment, Unemployment insurance, and Measurement error Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, J65 - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity