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A New Test of Ricardian Equivalence Using the Narrative Record on Tax Changes

Haug, Alfred A. (2016): A New Test of Ricardian Equivalence Using the Narrative Record on Tax Changes.

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Abstract

This paper empirically tests the Ricardian equivalence hypothesis with a narrative measure of tax shocks. The present value, at the time of legislation, of tax increases motivated solely by concerns for improving the fiscal health of the government is used for the tests. These tax news represent a switch from debt to tax financing that should have no effects on the economy if Ricardian equivalence holds as a good approximation. For the post-1980:IV period, I find evidence for fiscal anticipation as many of the tax increases are implemented with substantial delays and distortionary taxes increase economic activity before taxes go up, which iscaused by intertemporal substitution. Therefore, Ricardian equivalence is rejected.

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