Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

A Positive Theory of Government Debt

Contents:

Author Info

  • Fernando Martin

    (Simon Fraser University)

Abstract

A government that cannot commit to future policy choices faces a trade-off that explains the level of debt. On the one hand, there is an incentive to increase debt and delay taxation, so as to reduce current distortions. On the other hand, inflating current prices lowers the real value of nominal debt and so there is a motive to reduce it now. The size of long-run debt will depend on the interaction of these two opposing incentives. The critical determinant is the willingness of households to substitute away from goods being taxed by inflation. Numerical simulations show that the model matches some qualitative and quantitative properties of U.S. policy variables, including the fact that wars are frequently financed with a mix of instruments. The theory interprets the unusual post-World War II inflation and fast liquidation of accumulated debt as being due to higher long-run debt and expenditure in the period leading up to the war. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2009.02.003
Download Restriction: Access to full texts is restricted to ScienceDirect subscribers and institutional members. See http://www.sciencedirect.com/ for details.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 608-631

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:red:issued:07-47

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Review of Economic Dynamics Academic Press Editorial Office 525 "B" Street, Suite 1900 San Diego, CA 92101
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Email:
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/review.htm
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/RED17.htm

Related research

Keywords: Government debt; Time-consistency; Markov-perfect equilibrium;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Alberto F. Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 13-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  3. Díaz-Giménez, Javier & Giovannetti, Giorgia & Marimon, Ramon & Teles, Pedro, 2007. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 6595, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
  5. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
  6. S. Rao Aiyagari & R. Anton Braun & Zvi Eckstein, 1998. "Transaction Services, Inflation, and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1274-1301, December.
  7. Aiyagari, S. Rao & McGrattan, Ellen R., 1998. "The optimum quantity of debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 447-469, October.
  8. Albert Marcet & Albert Scott, 2007. "Debt and Deficit Fluctuations and the Structure of Bond Markets," Working Papers 332, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Mankiw, N, 1999. "Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 2643866, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
  11. Paul Klein & Per Krusell & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2004. "Time-Consistent Public Expenditures," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000652, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Welfare Costs of Moderate Inflations," RCER Working Papers 266, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Eisner, Robert & Pieper, Paul J, 1986. "A New View of the Federal Debt and Budget Deficits: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1156-57, December.
  14. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  15. Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Money and Asset Prices in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 919-44, October.
  16. Marco Bassetto & Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "On the Irrelevance of Government Debt When Taxes are Distortionary," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000295, David K. Levine.
  17. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  18. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
  19. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  20. Per Krusell & Fernando M. Martin & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Time Consistent Debt," 2006 Meeting Papers 210, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Martin, Fernando M., 2010. "Markov-perfect capital and labor taxes," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 503-521, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:issued:07-47. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.