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Kempkes, Gerhard
Stähler, Nikolai
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Discussion Paper, Deutsche Bundesbank 29/2014
From an economic perspective, imposing a credible one-off net wealth levy in crisis times as a tool to ward off a national emergency appears to be advantageous as, in an ideal world, this would not distort market players' allocation decisions. However, in practice, charging such a levy may give rise to distortions and unwanted effects on the real economy. Credibility that the levy will be imposed as a once-only measure is key to ensuring that harmful distortions in the allocation of resources are kept to a minimum. This paper confirms this using an analysis based on a DSGE model. In practice, while a government cannot guarantee that such a measure will be taken once only, it can contribute to the credibility thereof in a number of ways. First, the country's future 'business model' must become apparent; second, there has to be a basic level of confidence in the government and a firm belief that the budgetary imbalances were not actively caused by the state - at least not by the government currently in power; third, a verifiable outlook of sustainable public finances must be in place; and fourth, the political costs of a repeat levy must be high. This paper also discusses the potential impact of alternative model setups as well as some practical implementation problems.
Wealth Levy
Public Finances
DSGE Models
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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