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Public Debt and Redistribution with Borrowing Constraints

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  • Florin 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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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 435.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:435

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  1. 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.
  2. Matteo Iacoviello, 2005. "House Prices, Borrowing Constraints, and Monetary Policy in the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 739-764, June.
  3. Den Haan, Wouter J., 2010. "Comparison of solutions to the incomplete markets model with aggregate uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 4-27, January.
  4. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000. "The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 120-125, May.
  5. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 17583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bilbiie, Florin O. & Meier, André & Müller, Gernot J., 2006. "What accounts for the changes in U.S. fiscal policy transmission?," Working Paper Series 0582, European Central Bank.
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  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Tommaso Monacelli & Roberto Perotti, 2011. "Tax Cuts, Redistribution, and Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 408, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. Zvi Hercowitz & Jeffrey C. Campbell, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," 2005 Meeting Papers 120, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. 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.
  13. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  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. Becker, Robert A. & Foias, Ciprian, 1987. "A characterization of Ramsey equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 173-184, February.
  16. 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).
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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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