Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt in a Democracy

Contents:

Author Info

  • Alberto Alesina

    (Carnegie-Mellon University)

Abstract

This paper considers an economy in which policymakers with different preferences concerning fiscal policy alternate in office as a result of democratic elections. It is shown that in this situation government debt becomes a strategic variable used by each policymaker to influence the choices of his successors. In particular, if different policymakers disagree about the desired composition of government spending between two public goods, the economy exhibits a deficits bias. Namely, in this economy debt accumulation is higher than it would be with a social planner. According to the results of our model, the equilibrium level of government debt is larger: the larger is the degree of polarization between alternating governments; and the more likely it is that the current government will not be reelected. The paper has empirical implications which may contribute to explain the current fiscal policies in the United States and in several other countries.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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://www.econ.ucla.edu/workingpapers/wp435.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series UCLA Economics Working Papers with number 435.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Feb 1987
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cla:uclawp:435

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

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. Becker, Gary S., 1985. "Public policies, pressure groups, and dead weight costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 329-347, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Brock, William A., 1980. "Time consistency and optimal government policies in perfect foresight equilibrium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 183-212, April.
  5. Rogers, Carol Ann, 1986. "The effect of distributive goals on the time inconsistency of optimal taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 251-269, March.
  6. Grossman, Herschel I & Van Huyck, John B, 1988. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1088-97, December.
  7. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922.
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1986. "Principles of fiscal and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 117-134, January.
  9. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1984. "Time-consistent fiscal policy and government cash-flow," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, November.
  10. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-32, September.
  11. Karl Brunner, 1978. "Reflections on the Political Economy of Government. The Persistent Growth of Government," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 114(III), pages 649-680, September.
  12. Lindbeck, Assar, 1985. "Redistribution policy and the expansion of the public sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 309-328, December.
  13. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
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:
  1. Jochimsen, Beate & Nuscheler, Robert, 2007. "The political economy of the German Länder deficits," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2007-06, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "External Debt, Capital Flight and Political Risk," Scholarly Articles 4553019, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Albert Saiz, 2002. "Democracy to the road: the political economy of potholes," Working Papers 02-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Vuchelen, Jef, 1995. "Political events and consumer confidence in Belgium," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 563-579, December.
  5. John Lott & W. Reed, 1989. "Shirking and sorting in a political market with finite-lived politicians," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 75-96, April.
  6. Jensen, Svend Erik Hougaard & Jensen, Lars Grue, 1995. "Debt, deficits and transition to EMU: A small country analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-25, March.
  7. Alessandra Casella and Jonathan Feinstein., 1988. "Management of a Common Currency," Economics Working Papers 8891, University of California at Berkeley.
  8. Van De Klundert, T. & Gradus, R., 1990. "Optimal Goverment Debt Under Distortionary Taxation," Papers 9030, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  9. Di Gioacchino, Debora & Ginebri, Sergio & Sabani, Laura, 2004. "Political support to public debt repudiation in a Monetary Union - the role of the geographical allocation of debt," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp04019, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  10. Donato Masciandaro, 1995. "Designing a central bank: Social player, monetary agent, or banking agent?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 399-410, October.
  11. Warwick J. McKibbin & Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1987. "Dynamic Optimization in Two-Party Models," NBER Working Papers 2213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Koren, Stephan & Stiassny, Alfred, 1998. "Tax and Spend, or Spend and Tax? An International Study," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 163-191, April.
  13. Bruno de Paula Rocha & Fabiana Rocha, 2005. "Consolidação Fiscal Nos Estados Brasileiros: Uma Análise De Duração," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 047, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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:cla:uclawp:435. 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: (Tim Kwok).

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.