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Public Debt and Redistribution with Borrowing Constraints

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  • Florin O. Bilbiie
  • Tommaso Monacelli
  • Roberto Perotti

Abstract

The effects of public debt and redistribution are intimately related. We illustrate this in a model with heterogenous agents and imperfect credit markets. Our setup di¤ers from the classic Savers-Spenders model of ?scal policy in that all agents engage in intertemporal optimization, but a fraction of them is subject to a borrowing limit. We show that, despite the credit frictions, Ricardian equivalence holds under flexible prices if the steady-state distribution of wealth is degenerate: income effects on labor supply deriving from a tax redistribution are entirely symmetric across agents. When the distribution of wealth is non-degenerate, a tax cut is, somewhat paradoxically, contractionary. Conversely, sticky prices generate empirically plausible deviations from Ricardian equivalence, even in the case of degenerate wealth distribution. A revenue-neutral redistribution from unconstrained to constrained agents is expansionary, while debt?nanced tax cuts have effects that go beyond their redistributional component: the present-value multiplier of a tax cut is positive due to an interplay of intertemporal substitution by those who hold the public debt and income effects on those who do not.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): (2013)
Issue (Month): (02)
Pages: F64-F98

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v::y:2013:i::p:f64-f98

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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000. "The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Florin O. Bilbiie & Roland Straub, 2013. "Asset Market Participation, Monetary Policy Rules, and the Great Inflation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 377-392, May.
  3. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 11330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2012. "Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated US Tax Policy Shocks," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 145-81, May.
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  7. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," GSIA Working Papers 1997-37, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  8. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 17583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Matteo Iacoviello, 2002. "House prices, borrowing constraints and monetary policy in the business cycle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 542, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 06 Dec 2004.
  10. Florin O. Bilbiie & André Meier & Gernot J. Müller, 2008. "What Accounts for the Changes in U.S. Fiscal Policy Transmission?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(7), pages 1439-1470, October.
  11. Becker, Robert A, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-82, September.
  12. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  13. Florin O. Bilbiie & Roland Straub, 2004. "Fiscal Policy, Business Cycles and Labor-Market Fluctuations," MNB Working Papers 2004/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  14. Bilbiie, Florin O., 2008. "Limited asset markets participation, monetary policy and (inverted) aggregate demand logic," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 162-196, May.
  15. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  16. Tommaso Monacelli & Roberto Perotti, 2011. "Tax Cuts, Redistribution, and Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 408, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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Cited by:
  1. Kaszab, Lorant, 2012. "Rule-of-Thumb Consumers and Labor Tax Cut Policy in the Zero Lower Bound," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2012/13, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Apr 2013.

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