Authors: Kunze, Lars
Title: Fiscal policy and economic growth in the presence of intergenerational transfers
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: This thesis is entitled ’Fiscal policy and economic growth in the presence of intergenerational transfers’. It is composed of four self-contained chapters and focusses on the growth and welfare effects of taxation and public spending. The common denominator of all four chapters is that they incorporate an endogenous growth process in an overlapping generations model to evaluate long-term policy implications when different generations are affected in different ways by fiscal policy. In the first and second chapter the implications of capital income taxation for the growth process are discussed. The analysis emphasizes the role of public and private intergenerational transfers in form of public pensions and bequests as well as intergenerational redistribution induced by public policies. Among other results, it turns out that the presence or absence of such transfers critically determines whether an increase of capital income taxes with additional revenue being devoted to cut wage taxes may enhance economic growth. In the third chapter, the focus of the analysis is on social security funding and its implications for economic growth. Whereas a pay-as-you-go pension scheme, as considered in chapter one, naturally includes intergenerational transfers from the current working generation to retirees, a fully funded social security system does not. Still, the presence of such transfers within the economy in form of private educational spending and bequests turns out to play a key role in deter- mining the impact of funded social security on economic growth. More specif- ically, it is shown that a funded pension scheme may harm growth if there are operative bequests within the family, and parents thus face a trade-off between educating their children and leaving bequests. By contrast, when bequests are inoperative, the Ricardian equivalence holds and an increase in forced savings is exactly offset by a reduction in private savings leaving capital accumulation and educational spending unchanged. Chapter four discusses the impact of fiscal decentralization on economic growth in the context of education funding. While the traditional theoretical literature on fiscal decentralization focusses mainly on efficiency issues, empirical evidence for a positive relationship between fiscal decentralization and economic growth turns out to be mixed. Some studies can confirm the positive impact of higher degrees of decentralization on economic growth, whereas others face difficulties in establishing a positive relationship and, in fact, obtain either no dependency or a negative one. The aim of the fourth chapter is therefore to further evaluate the theoretical linkage and, at the same time, to give an ex- planation for the discrepancy between the empirical literature. The analysis reveals that there exists a growth maximizing degree of fiscal decentralization. Furthermore, it is shown that some degree of fiscal decentralization is always superior (in terms of long-run growth and welfare) to a system where either local or central governments exclusively finance educational investments.
Subject Headings: Economic growth
Fiscal policy
Intergenerational transfers
Issue Date: 2012-01-04
Appears in Collections:Lehrstuhl Volkswirtschaftslehre (Öffentliche Finanzen)

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