nep-dge New Economics Papers
on Dynamic General Equilibrium
Issue of 2006‒06‒03
nine papers chosen by
Christian Zimmermann
University of Connecticut

  1. Evaluating Search and Matching Models Using Experimental Data By Jeremy Lise; Shannon Seitz; Jeffrey Smith
  2. Bequests, Taxation and the Distribution of Wealth in a General Equilibrium Model By Christian Kleiber; Martin Sexauer; Klaus Wälde
  3. Social Security and Risk Sharing By Piero Gottardi; Felix Kubler
  4. Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs By Jeremy Lise; Shannon Seitz; Jeffrey Smith
  5. Rethinking the Concept of Long-Run Economic Growth By Christian Groth; Karl-Josef Koch; Thomas Steger
  6. Social discounting, migration and optimal taxation of savings By Valeria DeBonis; Luca Spataro
  7. Cyclical inflation divergence and different labor market institutions in the EMU By Alessia Campolmi; Ester Faia
  8. Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take us to Dinner? - Simulating the Transition Paths of the U.S., Eu, Japan and China By Hans Fehr; Sabine Jokisch; Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  9. A Small New Keynesian Model of the New Zealand economy By Philip Liu

  1. By: Jeremy Lise (Queen's University); Shannon Seitz (Queen's University); Jeffrey Smith (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: This paper introduces an innovative test of search and matching models using the exogenous variation available in experimental data. We take an off-the-shelf Pissarides matching model and calibrate it to data on the control group from a randomized social experiment. We then simulate a program group from a randomized experiment within the model. As a measure of the performance of the model, we compare the outcomes of the program groups from the model and from the randomized experiment. We illustrate our methodology using the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), a social experiment providing a time limited earnings supplement for Income Assistance recipients who obtain full time employment within a 12 month period. We find two features of the model are consistent with the experimental results: endogenous search intensity and exogenous job destruction. We find mixed evidence in support of the assumption of fixed hours of labor supply. Finally, we find a constant job destruction rate is not consistent with the experimental data in this context.
    Keywords: Calibration, equilibrium search and matching models, policy experiments, Self-Sufficiency Project, welfare, social experiments
    JEL: J2 I38 J6
    Date: 2006–05
  2. By: Christian Kleiber; Martin Sexauer; Klaus Wälde
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of bequests and of taxation on bequests for the distribution of wealth. We investigate a model with overlapping generations and heterogeneous households where parents derive utility directly from their bequests. Using the coefficient of variation as the measure of inequality, bequests per se diminish the inequality of wealth since they raise private savings and hence average wealth holdings more than the variance of wealth. From a policy perspective, taxing bequests and redistributing government revenue lump-sum among the young generation further decreases wealth inequality.
    Keywords: bequest, taxation, wealth inequality, OLG model, analytical solution
    JEL: D31 H23
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Piero Gottardi; Felix Kubler
    Abstract: In this paper we identify conditions under which the introduction of a pay-as-you-go social security system is ex-ante Pareto-improving in a stochastic overlapping generations economy with capital accumulation and land. We argue that these conditions are consistent with many calibrations of the model used in the literature. In our model financial markets are complete and competitive equilibria are interim Pareto efficient. Therefore, a welfare improvement can only be obtained if agents’ welfare is evaluated ex ante, and arises from the possibility of inducing, through social security, an improved level of intergenerational risk sharing. We will also examine the optimal size of a given social security system as well as its optimal reform. The analysis will be carried out in a relatively simple set-up, where the various effects of social security, on the prices of long-lived assets and the stock of capital, and hence on output, wages and risky rates of returns, can be clearly identified.
    Keywords: intergenerational risk sharing, social security, ex ante welfare improvements, interim optimality, price effects
    JEL: D58 D91 E62 H55
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Jeremy Lise (Queen's University); Shannon Seitz (Queen's University); Jeffrey Smith (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: In this paper we provide new and convincing evidence on the presence and magnitude of feedback effects associated with 'make work pay' policies currently under consideration in the US, Canada, the UK and other developed countries. We build a general equilibrium model of the labor market and use the model to study the effects of policies currently implemented in practice only as small-scale social experiments. The evidence from our model experiments is particularly compelling as we first test the partial equilibrium implications of our model using experimental data: in particular, we calibrate the model to the control group in a randomized experiment and find the model predicts the program group outcomes and the experimental impact estimates very well. We then use the model to quantify the effects of the experimental program introduced in general equilibrium. We apply our methodology to the evaluation of the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), a policy providing generous financial incentives for Income Assistance (IA) recipients to obtain stable employment. Our results reveal several important feedback effects associated with the SSP policy; taken together, these feedback effects reverse the cost-benefit conclusions implied by the partial equilibrium experimental evaluation. The substantial general equilibrium effects reported here are illustrative of the feedback effects that are likely to arise in a broad range of other programs that seek to 'make work pay' through the subsidization of search and work.
    Keywords: Program evaluation, policy experiments, Self-Sufficiency Project, welfare, social experiments, equilibrium search models
    JEL: J2 I38 J6
    Date: 2005–04
  5. By: Christian Groth; Karl-Josef Koch; Thomas Steger
    Abstract: This paper argues that growth theory needs a more general “regularity” concept than that of exponential growth. This offers the possibility of considering a richer set of parameter combinations than in standard growth models. Allowing zero population growth in the Jones (1995) model serves as our illustration of the usefulness of a general concept of “regular growth”.
    Keywords: exponential growth, arithmetic growth, regular growth, semi-endogenous growth, knife-edge restrictions
    JEL: O31 O40 O41
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Valeria DeBonis; Luca Spataro
    Abstract: The issue of inheritance taxation is very similar to that of capital income taxation, once they are analyzed within the optimal taxation framework: should one tax own future consumption and estate (i.e. perspective heirs’ consumption) more than own present consumption? As for capital income taxation, starting from the seminal works by Judd (1985) and Chamley (1986), the issue of dynamic optimal capital income taxation has been analyzed by a number of researchers. In particular, Judd (1999) has shown that the zero tax rate result stems from the fact that a tax on capital income is equivalent to a tax on future consumption: thus, capital income should not be taxed if the elasticity of consumption is constant over time. However, while in infinitely lived representative agent (ILRA) models this condition is necessarily satisfied in the long run, along the transition path, instead, it holds only if the utility function is assumed to be (weakly) separable in consumption and leisure and homothetic in consumption. Another source of taxation can derive from the presence of externalities, which gives room to nonzero taxation as a Pigouvian correction device. Abandoning the standard ILRA framework in favour of Overlapping Generation models with life cycle (OLG-LC) has delivered another important case of nonzero capital income taxation. This outcome can be understood by reckoning that in such a setup optimal consumption and labor (or, more precisely, the general equilibrium elasticity of consumption) are generally not constant over life and even at the steady state, due to life-cycle behavior. A similar reasoning can be applied to estate taxation. Note that this corresponds to a dierential treatment of savings for own future consumption, on the one hand, and of savings for bequest, on the other hand. Thus, the first aspect to note is that the optimality of a nonzero tax on capital income does not necessarily imply the optimality of a nonzero tax on estates. In fact the latter can be justified on arguments analogous to those presented above: a nonzero estate tax could stem either from the violation of (weak) separability between ”expenditure” on estate and (previous period) leisure or from a dierence between the donor’s and the donee’s general equilibrium elasticities of consumption, according to the framework being analyzed. Another reason for levying a tax on inheritance could be correcting for an externality. Atkinson (1971) and Stiglitz (1987) consider the positive externality deriving from the fact that transfers benefit those who receive them. Holtz-Eakin et al. (1993), Imbens et al. (1999), Joulfaian et al. (1994) consider instead the negative externality deriving, in the presence of an income tax, from a fall in heirs’ labor eorts. In the field of estate and transfers in general, the analysis of the motives for giving is another important aspect. In fact, different motives are associated to dierent forms of utility functions and, as a consequence, to dierent policy eects. Altruism, joy of giving, exchange related motives, accidental bequests have been widely studied in the literature (see Davies, 1996; Masson and Pestieau, 1997; Stark, 1999; Kaplow, 2001). In this paper we consider altruism motivated bequests. However, we introduce an element that is not considered in the existing models, i.e. the presence of migration. Moreover, we allow for a disconnection in the economy, in that we assume altruism to be limited to own descendants4. This element turns out to be a relevant determinant of taxation once it is embedded in the social welfare function, and precisely in the sense that the policymaker takes into account the demographic evolution of the population. In fact, the zero capital income and inheritance tax result applies only if the disconnection of the economy is disregarded. We identify instead a number of ways in which the demographic evolution of the population can be accounted for within the social welfare function via appropriate intergenerational weights, leading to dierent combinations of the inheritance and capital income tax rates, with at least one of them being nonzero. The work proceeds as follows: in section 2 we present the model and derive the equilibrium conditions for the decentralized economy. Next, we characterize the Ramsey problem by adopting the primal approach. Finally, we present the results by focusing on the new ones. Concluding remarks and a technical appendix will end the work.
    Keywords: optimal dynamic taxation, migration, altruism, inheritance taxation, capital income taxation
    JEL: E62 H21
    Date: 2006–05
  7. By: Alessia Campolmi (Department of Economics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005, Barcelona, Spain.); Ester Faia (Department of Economics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005, Barcelona, Spain.)
    Abstract: This paper relates the size of the cyclical inflation differentials, currently observed for euro area countries, to the differences in labor market institutions across the same set of countries. It does that by using a DSGE model for a currency area with sticky prices and labor market frictions. We show that differences in labor market institutions account well for cyclical inflation differentials. The proposed mechanism is a supply side one in which differences in labor market institutions generate different dynamics in real wages and consequently in marginal costs and inflations. We test this mechanism in the data and find that the model replicates well the empirical facts.
    Keywords: Cyclical inflation divergence, labor market institutions, EMU.
    JEL: E52 E24
    Date: 2006–05
  8. By: Hans Fehr (University of Wuerzburg); Sabine Jokisch (Univeristy of Wuerzburg); Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University)
    Abstract: This paper develops a dynamic, life-cycle, general equilibrium model to study the interdependent demographic, fiscal, and economic transition paths of China, Japan, the U.S.,and the EU. Each of these countries/regions is entering a period of rapid and significant aging that will require major fiscal adjustments. But the aging of these societies may be a cloud with a silver lining coming, in this case, in the form of capital deepening that will raise real wages. In a previous model that excluded China we predicted that tax hikes needed to pay benefits along the developed world’s demographic transition would lead to a major capital shortage, reducing real wages per unit of human capital over time by one fifth. A recalibration of our original model that treats government purchases of capital goods as investment rather than current consumption suggests this concern was overstated. With government investment included, we find much less crowding out over the course of the century and only a 4 percent long-run decline in real wages. Adding China to the model further alters, indeed, dramatically alters, the model’s predictions. Even though China is aging rapidly, its saving behavior, growth rate, and fiscal policies are currently very different from those of developed countries. If successive cohorts of Chinese continue to save like current cohorts, if the Chinese government can restrain growth in expenditures, and if Chinese technology and education levels ultimately catch up with those of the West and Japan, the model’s long run looks much brighter. China eventually becomes the world’s saver and, thereby, the developed world’s savoir with respect to its long-run supply of capital and long-run general equilibrium prospects. And, rather than seeing the real wage per unit of human capital fall, the West and Japan see it rise by one fifth percent by 2030 and by three fifths by 2100. These wage increases are over and above those associated with technical progress, which we model as increasing the human capital endowments of successive cohorts. Even if the Chinese saving behavior (captured by its time preference rate) gradually approaches that of Americans, developed world real wages per unit of human capital are roughly 17 percent higher in 2030 and 4 percent higher at the end of the century. Without China they’d be only 2 percent higher in 2030 and, as mentioned, 4 percent lower at Century’s end. What’s more, the major short-run outflow of the developed world’s capital to China predicted by our model does not come at the cost of lower wages in the developed world. The reason is that the knowledge that their future wages will be higher (thanks to China’s future capital accumulation) leads our model’s workers to cut back on their current labor supply. So the shortrun outflow of capital to China is met with a commensurate short-run reduction in developed world labor supply, leaving the short-run ratio of physical capital to human capital, on which wages positively depend, actually somewhat higher than would otherwise be the case. Our model does not capture the endogenous determination of skill premiums studied by Heckman and Taber (1996). Doing so could well show that trade with China, at least in the short run, explains much of the relative decline in the wages of low-skilled workers in the developed world. Hence, we don’t mean to suggest here that all US, EU, and Japanese workers are being helped by trade with China, but rather that trade with China is, on average, raising the wages of developed world workers and will continue to do so. The notion that China, India, and other developing countries will alleviate the developed world’s demographic problems has been stressed by Siegel (2005). Our paper, although it includes only one developing country – China – supports Siegel’s optimistic long-term macroeconomic view. On the other hand, our findings about the developed world’s fiscal condition are quite troubling. Even under the most favorable macroeconomic scenario, tax rates will rise dramatically over time in the developed world to pay baby boomers their government-promised pension and health benefits. As Argentina has so recently shown, countries can grow quite well for years even with unsustainable fiscal policies. But if they wait too long to address those policies, the financial markets will do it for them, with often quite ruinous consequences.
    Date: 2005–09
  9. By: Philip Liu (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)
    Abstract: This paper investigate whether a small open economy DSGE-based New Keynesian model can provide a reasonable description of key features of the New Zealand economy, in particular the transmission mechanism of monetary policy. The main objective is to design a simple, compact, and transparent tool for basic policy simulations. The structure of the model is largely motivated by recent developments in the area of DSGE modelling. Combining prior information and the historical data using Bayesian simulation techniques, we arrive at a set of parameters that largely reflect New Zealand's experience over the stable inflation-targeting period. The resultant model can be used to simulate monetary policy paths and help analyze the robustness of policy conclusions to model uncertainty.
    JEL: C15 C51 E12 E17
    Date: 2006–05

This nep-dge issue is ©2006 by Christian Zimmermann. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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