CESifo working paper: Fiscal Policy, Macroeconomics and Growth 3560
We study the dynamic Ramsey problem of finding optimal public debt and linear taxes on capital and labor income within a tractable infinite horizon model with incomplete markets. With zero public expenditure and debt, it is optimal to tax the risky labor income and subsidize capital, while a positive amount of public debt is welfare improving. A steady state optimality condition is derived which implies that the tax on capital is positive, when savings are sufficiently inelastic to returns. A calibration of our model to the US economy indicates positive optimal taxes and a small but positive optimal debt level.