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The Ricardian Approach to Budget Deficits

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  • Barro, Robert J

Abstract

Persistent budget deficits have increased economists' interest in theories and evidence about fiscal policy. This paper develops the Ricardian approach and contrasts it with standard models. The discussion considers from major theoretical objections to Ricardian equivalence-finite lifetimes, imperfect capital markets, uncertainty about future taxes and incomes, and the distorting effects of taxation Then the paper considers empirical evidence on interest rates, consumption and saving, and current-account deficits. The conclusion is that the Ricardian approach is a useful first-order approximation, and that this approach will probably become the benchwork model for assessing fiscal policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 3 (1989)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 37-54

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:3:y:1989:i:2:p:37-54

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  1. Evans, Paul, 1987. "Interest Rates and Expected Future Budget Deficits in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 34-58, February.
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  9. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-28, May.
  10. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Leiderman, Leonardo & Razin, Assaf, 1988. "Testing Ricardian Neutrality with an Intertemporal Stochastic Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 1-21, February.
  12. Michael R. Darby, 1977. "The Effects of Social Security on Income and the Capital Stock," UCLA Economics Working Papers 095A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  14. Chris Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Why Have Private Saving Rates in the United States and Canada Diverged?," NBER Working Papers 2319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Kormendi, Roger C, 1983. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 994-1010, December.
  16. Willem H. Buiter & James Tobin, 1978. "Fiscal and Monetary Policies, Capital Formation, and Economic Activity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 512, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  17. Kochin, Levis A, 1974. "Are Future Taxes Anticipated by Consumers? Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 6(3), pages 385-94, August.
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  19. Leimer, Dean R & Lesnoy, Selig D, 1982. "Social Security and Private Saving: New Time-Series Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 606-29, June.
  20. Seater, John J. & Mariano, Roberto S., 1985. "New tests of the life cycle and tax discounting hypotheses," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 195-215, March.
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  22. Siegel, Jeremy J, 1979. "Inflation-Induced Distortions in Government and Private Saving Statistics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 83-90, February.
  23. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "Tests for Liquidity Constraints: A Critical Survey," NBER Working Papers 1720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Buchanan, James M, 1976. "Barro on the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 337-42, April.
  25. Barro, Robert J. & MacDonald, Glenn M., 1979. "Social security and consumer spending in an international cross section," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 275-289, June.
  26. Aschauer, David Alan & Greenwood, Jeremy, 1985. "Macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 91-138, January.
  27. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Love thy children : Reflections on the Barro debt neutrality theorem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-391, May.
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