SUBSIDIES AS OPTIMAL FISCAL STIMULI

Authors


Catia Montagna, Economic Studies, University of Dundee, 3 Perth Road, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK. Tel: +44(0)1382–384845; Fax: +44(0)1382-384691; Email: c.montagna@dundee.ac.uk.

ABSTRACT

Theoretical macroeconomic models typically take fiscal policy to mean tax-and-spend by a ‘benevolent government’ that exploits potential aggregate demand externalities inherent in the imperfectly competitive nature of goods markets. Whilst shown to raise aggregate output and employment, these policies crowd-out private consumption and typically reduce welfare. On account of their widespread use to stimulate economic activity, we consider the use of ‘tax-and-subsidize’ instead of ‘tax-and-spend’ policies. Within a static general equilibrium macro-model with imperfectly competitive goods markets, we examine the effects of wage and output subsidies and show that, for a small open economy, positive tax and subsidy rates exist which maximize welfare, rendering no intervention suboptimal. We also show that, within a two-country setting, a Nash non-cooperative symmetric equilibrium with positive tax and subsidy rates exists, and that cooperation between governments in setting these rates is more expansionary and leads to an improvement upon the non-cooperative solution.

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