Research Interests: Macroeconomics, Public Finance, Political Economy, Heterogeneous-Agent Modeling
1. Moore, Rachel and Brandon Pecoraro. “Modeling the Internal Revenue Code in a Heterogeneous-Agent General Equilibrium Framework."
Abstract: We develop a large-scale, deterministic overlapping generations model for analyzing the macroeconomic effects associate with federal tax policy proposals in the United States. The economy is decentralized, as the interaction of households, firms, financial intermediaries, and government takes place in a competitive market environment. The model features ex ante heterogeneity in the household sector, which allows for households of different ages, labor productivity and marital status. This individual-level heterogeneity lends itself to the use of a built-in individual tax calculator that can explicitly model particular provisions applied to earned income in the Internal Revenue Code. Our approach contrasts with the existing literature which typically specifies a parameterized tax function with the intention of approximating the US tax code. We explicitly model those provisions responsible for the largest tax expenditures and the largest deviation from the statutory rate schedule: the child tax credit, the child-care tax credit, the earned income credit, the home mortgage interest deduction, the charitable giving deduction, state and local deductions, the high-income and medicare surtaxes, personal exemptions, and the alternative minimum tax. By taking care to account for the phase-in and phase-out regions of deductions and credits, the possible changes to these regions amounts following a tax reform proposal, we can explicitly capture the idiosyncratic responses to tax policy changes and ensure they are reflected in changes to macroeconomic aggregates.
1. Pecoraro, Brandon. “Why Don't Voters 'Put the Gini Back in the Bottle'? Inequality and Economic Preferences for Redistribution." European Economic Review, Volume 93, April 2017, pp. 152-172. (click title for link)
Abstract: The classic democratic theory of redistribution claims that an increase in market income inequality causes an increase in the size of government through majority voter support for an offsetting expansion of redistribution. I argue that the predicted inequality-redistribution relationship can break down when voters face uninsurable idiosyncratic risk with respect to future labor income and a timing differential between tax collections and government outlays. This is formalized using an incomplete market heterogeneous-agent DSGE model with majority voting and `time-to-build' policy, which suggests the collective demand for redistribution will not necessarily increase with growing income or wealth inequality. This result implies that even with equal political power among voters, democracies do not have a systematic mechanism to offset rising inequality as contrary to popular belief.
2. Shaw, Philip, Marina-Selini Katsaiti, and Brandon Pecoraro. “On the Determinants of Educational Corruption: The Case of Ukraine.” Contemporary Economic Policy, Volume 33, No. 4, October 2015, pp. 698-713. (click title for link)
Abstract: This article utilizes a unique data set to examine the relationship between a group of potential explanatory variables and educational corruption in Ukraine. Our corruption controls include bribing on exams, on term papers, for credit, and for university admission. We use a robust nonparametric approach in order to estimate the probability of bribing across the four different categories. This approach is shown to be robust to a variety of different types of endogeneity often encountered under commonly assumed parametric specifications. Our main findings indicate that corruption perceptions, past bribing behavior, and the perceived criminality of bribery are significant factors for all four categories of bribery. From a policy perspective, we argue that when bribe control enforcement is difficult, anti-corruption education programs targeting social perceptions of corruption could be appropriate.
Abstract: The classic democratic theory of redistribution claims that an increase in the mean-to-median (MM) income ratio causes a majority coalition in the electorate to collectively demand more redistribution. The functional dependence of redistribution on the MM income ratio is tested in parametric and nonparametric regression frameworks using an OECD panel dataset. While theparametric regression model is found to be misspecified rendering subsequent inference invalid, the robust nonparametric regression model fails to uncover evidence that the MM income ratio is relevant for predicting redistribution.
Works in Progress:
Shaw, Philip and Brandon Pecoraro. "A Nonparametric Approach for Computing Equilibria in Heterogeneous-Agent models with Aggregate Uncertainty."