Optimal time-consistent fiscal policy in an endogenous growth economy with public consumption and capital

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In an endogenous growth model with public consumption and public investment, we explore the time-consistent optimal choice for two policy instruments: an income tax rate and the split of government spending between consumption and investment. We show that under the time-consistent, Markov policy, the economy lacks any transitional dynamics and also that there is local and global determinacy of equilibrium. We compare the Markovian optimal policy with the Ramsey policy as well as with the solution to the planner’s problem under lump-sum taxation. For empirically plausible parameter values we find that the Markov-perfect policy implies a higher tax rate and a larger proportion of government spending allocated to consumption than those chosen under a commitment constraint. As a result, economic growth is slightly lower under the Markov-perfect policy than under the Ramsey policy, with growth under lump-sum taxes being highest.
JEL classification: E61, E62, H21. The authors thank financial support received from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through grant ECO2009-10398, the Research Groups funding program by Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Banco Santander, the Xunta de Galicia through Grant 10PXIB300177PR and the Research Grant program in Economics at Fundación Ramón Areces.
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