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A note on public debt, tax-exempt bonds, and Ponzi games

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  • Wigger, Berthold U.
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    Abstract

    By issuing tax-exempt bonds, the government can incur debt and never pay back any principal or interest, even if the economy without public debt evolves on a dynamically efficient growth path. The welfare effects of such a Ponzi type borrowing scheme are mixed. The current young will unambiguously benefit. Depending on preferences and the aggregate technology, a finite number of subsequent generations may also benefit. However, the welfare of all generations thereafter will be lower than in the economy without public debt.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6X4M-4T54298-1/2/a880c1e4eb5ba41ca1b3e5cc325820f6
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 492-499

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:31:y:2009:i:3:p:492-499

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

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    Keywords: Public debt Tax-exempt bonds Capital taxation Ponzi game;

    References

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    1. Galor, Oded & Ryder, Harl E., 1991. "Dynamic efficiency of steady-state equilibria in an overlapping-generations model with productive capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 385-390, April.
    2. Chalk, Nigel A., 2000. "The sustainability of bond-financed deficits: An overlapping generations approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 293-328, April.
    3. Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Rational Ponzi Games," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 18-86, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
      • O'Connell, Stephen A & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1988. "Rational Ponzi Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(3), pages 431-50, August.
    4. Ball, Laurence & Elmendorf, Douglas W & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1998. "The Deficit Gamble," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 699-720, November.
    5. Noriyuki Yanagawa & Gene M. Grossman, 1992. "Asset Bubbles and Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 4004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. King, Ian & Ferguson, Don, 1993. "Dynamic inefficiency, endogenous growth, and Ponzi games," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 79-104, August.
    7. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
    8. John Norregaard, 1997. "The Tax Treatment of Government Bonds," IMF Working Papers 97/25, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Berthold Wigger, 2005. "Public Debt, Human Capital Formation, and Dynamic Inefficiency," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 47-59, January.
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