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.
We introduce, into a version of the Real Business Cycle model, mild increasing returns-to-scale. These increasing returns-to-scale occur as a consequence of sector specific externalities, that is externalities where the output of the consumption and investment sectors have external effects on the output of firms within their own sector. Keeping the production technologies for both sectors identical for expositional simplicity, we show that indeterminacy can easily occur for parameter values typically used in the real business cycle literature, and in contrast to some earlier literature on indeterminacies, for externalities mild enough so that labor demand curves are downward sloping.
There were three important changes in the United States economy during the 1980s. First, from 1982-90, the decade featured the longest consecutive stretch of positive quarterly output growth in United States history. Second, wage inequality expanded greatly as the wages of highly skilled workers grew markedly faster than the wages of less skilled workers (Katz and Murphy (1992)). Finally, consumption inequality also expanded as the consumption of highly skilled workers grew faster than that of less skilled workers (Attanasio and Davis (1994)). This paper argues that these three aspects of the United States economic experience can be interpreted as being part of an efficient response to a macroeconomic shock given the existence of a particular technological impediment to full insurance. I examine the properties of efficient allocations of risk in an economic environment in which the outside enforcement of risksharing arrangements is infinitely costly. In these allocations, relative productivity movements have effects on both the current and future distribution of consumption across individuals. If preferences over consumption and leisure are nonhomothetic, these changes in the allocation of consumption will generate persistent cycles in aggregate output that do not occur in efficient allocations when enforcement is costless.
We propose a model in which an unanticipated reduction in the money supply leads to a contemporaneous increase in inventories followed by periods with lower output. This persistent real effect does not require price-rigidity or real shocks and confusion. It is obtained in a model in which markets are cleared and agents are price-takers.
A pairwise random meeting model with money is used to study the nominal yield on pure-discount, default-free securities that are issued by the government. There is one steady state with matured securities at par and, for some parameters, another with them at a discount. In the former, exogenous rejection of unmatured securities by the government is necessary and sufficient for such a steady state to display a positive nominal yield on unmatured securities. In the latter, the post-maturity discount on securities induces a deeper pre-maturity discount even if there is no exogenous rejection of unmatured securities.
I show that a simple sticky price model based on Rotemberg (1982) is consistent with a variety of facts concerning the correlation of prices, hours and output. In particular, I show that it is consistent with a negative correlation between the detrended levels of output and prices when the Beveridge-Nelson method is used to detrend both the price and output data. Such a correlation, i.e.,a negative correlation between the predictable movements in output and the predictable movements in prices is present (and very strong) in U.S. data. Consistent with the model, this correlation is stronger than correlations between prices and hours of work. I also study the size of the predictable price movements that are associated with predictable output movements as well as the degree to which there are predictable movements in monetary aggregates associated with predictable movements in output. These facts are used to shed light on the degree to which the Federal Reserve has pursued a policy designed to stabilize expected inflation.
A cash-in-advance model with sequential markets is constructed, where unanticipated monetary injections are nonneutral and can potentially produce large liquidity effects. However, if the monetary authority adheres to an optimal money rule, money should not respond to unanticipated shocks, so that a Friedman rule is suboptimal and the monetary authority does not exploit the liquidity effect. Quantitatively, the model can generate variability in money and nominal interest rates close to what is observed, and can produce data with no obvious evidence of the existence of liquidity effects.