Alexandra Fotiou, Ms. Wenyi Shen, and Shu-Chun Susan Yang
Using the post-WWII data of U.S. federal corporate income tax changes, within a Smooth Transition VAR, this paper finds that the output effect of capital income tax cuts is government debt-dependent: it is less expansionary when debt is high than when it is low. To explore the mechanisms that can drive this fiscal state-dependent tax effect, the paper uses a DSGE model with regime-switching fiscal policy and finds that a capital income tax cut is stimulative to the extent that it is unlikely to result in a future fiscal adjustment. As government debt increases to a sufficiently high level, the probability of future fiscal adjustments starts rising, and the expansionary effects of a capital income tax cut can diminish substantially, whether the expected adjustments are through a policy reversal or a consumption tax increase. Also, a capital income tax cut need not always have large revenue feedback effects as suggested in the literature.
Huixin Bi, Ms. Wenyi Shen, and Shu-Chun Susan Yang
This paper studies the main channels through which interest rate normalization has fiscal
implications in the United States. While unexpected inflation reduces the real value of
government liabilities, a rising policy rate increases government financing needs because of
higher interest payments and lower real bond prices. After an initial decline, the real
government debt burden rises even with higher tax revenues in an expansion. Given the
current net debt-to-GDP ratio at around 80 percent, interest rate normalization leads to a
negligible increase in the sovereign default risk of the U.S. federal government, despite a
much higher federal debt-to-GDP ratio than the post-war historical average.
During the last decade, Hong Kong SAR has experienced a large increase in house prices and
credit, prompting the authorities to respond with several rounds of tightening macroprudential
rules and increasing stamp duty taxes. This paper provides a Dynamic Stochastic
General Equilibrium (DSGE) model for Hong Kong SAR and analyzes the effectiveness of
these measures, and finds that they have helped reduce house price appreciation and
household leverage. A baseline small open economy real business cycle model is extended
by including a housing sector, financial frictions, foreign demand for the domestic housing
stock, and is estimated using Bayesian methods and data for Hong Kong SAR between 1996
and 2017. The paper finds that, without these policies, house prices would have been 10.5
percent higher, and the household credit-GDP ratio 14 percent higher.
This paper examines the cyclicality of fiscal behavior in 28 developing oil-producing countries (OPCs) during 1990-2009. After testing five fiscal measures - government expenditure, consumption, investment, non-oil revenue, and non-oil primary balance - and correcting for reverse causality between non-oil output and fiscal variables, the results suggest that all of the five fiscal variables are strongly procyclical in the full sample. Also, the results are not uniform across income groups: expenditure is procyclical in the low and middle-income countries, while it is countercyclical in the high-income countries. Fiscal policy tends to be affected by the external financing constraints in the middle- and high-income groups. However, the quality of institutions and political structure appear to be more significant for the low-income group.
This paper discusses how to enhance automatic stabilizers without increasing the size of government. We distinguish between permanent changes in the parameters of the tax and expenditure system (e.g., changes in tax progressivity) that will enhance the traditional automatic stabilizer, and temporary changes triggered by certain economic developments (e.g., tax measures targeted at credit and liquidity constrained households, triggered during a severe downturn). We argue that, with some exceptions, the latter are preferable as they can be implemented with lower disruptions in other fiscal policy goals (e.g., economic efficiency). Moreover, countries should also avoid introducing procyclicality as a result of fiscal rules, as these would offset the effect of existing automatic stabilizers.
Dimitre Milkov, Mr. Rafael A Portillo, Mr. Plamen K Iossifov, and Mr. John Wakeman-Linn
The financial sector of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) has been seriously affected by the global financial crisis and resulting global recession. This note assesses the response of CEMAC governments to the global financial crisis and recession, with particular focus on the impact of current policies on each country’s fiscal sustainability as well as the region’s external sustainability and reserve coverage. The note then provides general policy advice to CEMAC governments as they refine their response to the global crisis.
Michael T. Gapen, Mr. Thomas F. Cosimano, and Mr. Ralph Chami
This paper uses a stochastic dynamic general equilibrium model to investigate the influence of countercyclical remittances on the conduct of fiscal and monetary policy and trace their effects on real and nominal variables in a business cycle setting. We show that remittances raise disposable income and consumption, and insure against income shocks, thereby raising household welfare. However, remittances increase the correlation between labor and output, thereby producing a more volatile business cycle and increasing output and labor market risk. Optimal monetary policy in the presence of remittances deviates from the Friedman rule, highlighting the need for independent government policy instruments.
This paper examines the reform of the external tariff initiated by the CEMAC and the WAEMU that is aimed at reinforcing their economic integration. Overall, there is broad compliance with the streamlined and moderate rates, but with significant deviations from the harmonized paths in several countries. WAMZ countries, except Ghana, need to undertake major reforms in order to align their external tariff structures with that of the WAEMU as planned for 2007. To promote full compliance with the harmonized external tariff policies, the paper suggests, measures need to be taken, including the creation of financial incentives, at the regional and country levels.
This paper highlights the importance of debt composition in setting optimal fiscal and monetary policy over short-run business cycles and in the long run. Nominal debt as state-contingent debt can be a significant policy tool to reduce the volatility of distortionary government policy, thereby reducing macroeconomic volatility while increasing equilibrium output and consumption. The welfare gain from using nominal debt to hedge against shocks to the government budget is as large as the welfare gain from the ability to issue debt.
This paper examines the relationship between trade liberalization and the budget deficit, which depends on the specifics of country’s economic structure, and the trade regime which is being liberalized. It relates some popular but incomplete approaches to assessing this issue (such as analysis of the foreign exchange budget) to a more comprehensive approach using an applied general equilibrium model. The argument is illustrated using data from the most recent of a sequence of abortive planned liberalizations in Kenya, as well as a number of stylized illustrations. The conclusions are not only that liberalization may be budget enhancing, but that in certain circumstances it may be strongly so.