“Fiscal Policy, Increasing Returns and Endogenous Fluctuations” by Jang-Ting GUO
University of California, Riverside
We examine the quantitative implications of government fiscal policy in a discrete-time one-sector growth model with a productive externality that generates social increasing returns to scale. Starting from a laissez-faire economy that exhibits local indeterminacy, we show that the introduction of a constant capital tax or subsidy can lead to various forms of endogenous fluctuations, including stable 2-, 4-, 8-, and 10-cycles, quasi-periodic orbits, and chaos. In contrast, a constant labor tax or subsidy has no effect on the qualitative nature of the model's dynamics. We also show that the use of local steady-state analysis to detect the presence of multiple equilibria in this class of models can be misleading. For a plausible range of capital tax rates, the log-linearized dynamical system exhibits saddle-point stability, suggesting a unique equilibrium, while the true nonlinear model exhibits global indeterminacy. This implies that a stabilization policy designed to suppress sunspot fluctuations near the steady state may not prevent sunspots, cycles, or chaos in regions away from the steady state. Overall, our results highlight the importance of using a model's nonlinear equilibrium conditions to fully investigate global dynamics.