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: Boerma, Job and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 763 Abstract:
During the past two decades, households experienced increases in their average wages and expenditures alongside with divergent trends in their wages, expenditures, and time allocation. We develop a model with incomplete asset markets and household heterogeneity in market and home technologies and preferences to account for these labor market trends and assess their welfare consequences. Using micro data on expenditures and time use, we identify the sources of heterogeneity across households, document how these sources have changed over time, and perform counterfactual analyses. Given the observed increase in leisure expenditures relative to leisure time and the complementarity of these inputs in leisure technology, we infer a significant increase in the average productivity of time spent on leisure. The increasing productivity of leisure time generates significant welfare gains for the average household and moderates negative welfare effects from the rising dispersion of expenditures and time allocation across households.
Keyword: Leisure productivity, Inequality, Consumption, and Time use Subject (JEL): J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, D10 - Household Behavior: General, D60 - Welfare Economics: General, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
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: Arce, Fernando, Bengui, Julien, and Bianchi, Javier Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 761 Abstract:
This paper proposes a theory of foreign reserves as macroprudential policy. We study an open economy model of financial crises, in which pecuniary externalities lead to over-borrowing, and show that by accumulating international reserves, the government can achieve the constrained-efficient allocation. The optimal reserve accumulation policy leans against the wind and significantly reduces the exposure to financial crises. The theory is consistent with the joint dynamics of private and official capital flows, both over time and in the cross section, and can quantitatively account for the recent upward trend in international reserves.
Keyword: Macroprudential policy, Financial crises, and International reserves Subject (JEL): E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, F00 - International Economics: General, and G00 - Financial Economics: General
Creator: Schlegl, Matthias, Trebesch, Christoph, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 759 Abstract:
Sovereign governments owe debt to many foreign creditors and can choose which creditors to favor when making payments. This paper documents the de facto seniority structure of sovereign debt using new data on defaults (missed payments or arrears) and creditor losses in debt restructuring (haircuts). We overturn conventional wisdom by showing that official bilateral (government-to-government) debt is junior, or at least not senior, to private sovereign debt such as bank loans and bonds. Private creditors are typically paid first and lose less than bilateral official creditors. We confirm that multilateral institutions like the IMF and World Bank are senior creditors.
Keyword: Sovereign default, IMF, International financial architecture, Pecking order, Insolvency, Official debt, Sovereign bonds, Arrears, and Priority Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), F30 - International Finance: General, F50 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy: General, and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
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: Bianchi, Javier and Mondragon, Jorge Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 755 Abstract:
This paper shows that the inability to use monetary policy for macroeconomic stabilization leaves a government more vulnerable to a rollover crisis. We study a sovereign default model with self-fulfilling rollover crises, foreign currency debt, and nominal rigidities. When the government lacks monetary autonomy, lenders anticipate that the government will face a severe recession in the event of a liquidity crisis, and are therefore more prone to run on government bonds. By contrast, a government with monetary autonomy can stabilize the economy and can easily remain immune to a rollover crisis. In a quantitative application, we find that the lack of monetary autonomy played a central role in making the Eurozone vulnerable to a rollover crisis. A lender of last resort can help ease the costs from giving up monetary independence.
Keyword: Sovereign debt crises, Rollover risk, and Monetary unions Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, G15 - International Financial Markets, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General
Creator: Bengui, Julien and Bianchi, Javier Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 754 Abstract:
The outreach of macroprudential policies is likely limited in practice by imperfect regulation enforcement, whether due to shadow banking, regulatory arbitrage, or other regulation circumvention schemes. We study how such concerns affect the design of optimal regulatory policy in a workhorse model in which pecuniary externalities call for macroprudential taxes on debt, but with the addition of a novel constraint that financial regulators lack the ability to enforce taxes on a subset of agents. While regulated agents reduce risk taking in response to debt taxes, unregulated agents react to the safer environment by taking on more risk. These leakages undermine the effectiveness of macroprudential taxes but do not necessarily call for weaker interventions. A quantitative analysis of the model suggests that aggregate welfare gains and reductions in the severity and frequency of financial crises remain, on average, largely unaffected by even significant leakages.
Keyword: Regulatory arbitrage, Macroprudential policy, Financial crises, and Limited regulation enforcement Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, and D62 - Externalities
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: Guvenen, Fatih, Mataloni Jr., Raymond J., Rassier, Dylan G., and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 751 Abstract:
Official statistics display a significant slowdown in U.S. aggregate productivity growth that begins in 2004. We show how offshore profit shifting by U.S. multinational enterprises affects GDP and, thus, productivity measurement. Under international statistical guidelines, profit shifting causes part of U.S. production generated by multinationals to be excluded from official measures of U.S. production. Profit shifting has increased significantly since the mid-1990s, resulting in lower measures of U.S. aggregate productivity growth. We construct an alternative measure of value added that adjusts for profit shifting. The adjustments raise aggregate productivity growth rates by 0.09 percent annually for 1994-2004, 0.24 percent annually for 2004-2008, and lowers annual aggregate productivity growth rates by 0.09 percent after 2008. Our adjustments mitigate, but do not eliminate, the measured productivity slowdown. The adjustments are especially large in R&D-intensive industries, which most likely produce intangible assets that facilitate profit shifting. The adjustments boost value added in these industries by as much as 8 percent in the mid-2000s.
Keyword: Formulary apportionment, Productivity slowdown, and Tax havens Subject (JEL): E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts, F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General