Economic Growth with Constraints on Tax Revenues and Public Debt: Implications for Fiscal Policy and Cross-Country Differences
AbstractThis paper evaluates optimal public investment and fiscal policy for countries characterized by limited tax and debt capacities. We study a non stochastic CRS endogenous growth model where public expenditure is an input in the production process, in countries where distortions and limited enforceability result in limited fiscal capacities, as captured by a maximal effective tax rate. We show how persistent differences in growth rates across countries could stem from differential public finance constraints, and differentiate between the case where the public expenditure finances the flow of recurring spending (such as law enforcement), versus the stock of tangible public infrastructure. Although the flow of public expenditure raises productivity, the government should not borrow to finance it as the resulting increase in public debt would lower welfare and the growth rate. With outstanding public debt, the optimal fiscal policy should keep the debt-to-GDP ratio constant in the economy with or without a binding constraint on tax revenues as a share of GDP - current non-durable public goods should be financed only from current revenue. With investment in the stock of public infrastructure, public sector borrowing to finance the accumulation of public capital goods may allow the economy to reach a long-run optimal growth path faster. With a binding tax capacity constraint, if the ratio of the initial public/private sector stock of capital is smaller than the sustainable balanced growth ratio, the optimal policy for the government is to purchase public capital, financed by debt, to immediately attain the sustainable ratio of public capital to private capital. The sustainable steady-state ratio is endogenous to the initial public-to-private capital ratio, the tax capacity and any exogenous debt limit (say, due to sovereign risk). With capital stock adjustment costs, these statements apply to a transition of finite duration rather than an instantaneous stock jump. With either a binding exogenous debt limit or solvency constrained borrowing, a more patient country will have a higher steady-state growth rate but a lower steady-state public-to-private capital ratio.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12750.
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Note: ITI PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Aizenman, Joshua & Kletzer, Kenneth, 2007. "Economic Growth with Constraints on Tax Revenues and Public Debt: Implications for Fiscal Policy and Cross-Country Differences," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9421k9hq, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
- F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
- F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
- H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
- O41 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-01-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2007-01-23 (Development)
- NEP-PBE-2007-01-23 (Public Economics)
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.:
- Barro, Robert J., 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
- Kenneth M. Kletzer and Brian D. Wright., 1998.
"Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter,"
Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers
C98-100, University of California at Berkeley.
- Kenneth M. Kletzer & Brian D. Wright, 2000. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," International Finance 0003004, EconWPA.
- Kletzer, Kenneth M. & Wright, Brian D., 1998. "Sovereign Debt as Intertemporal Barter," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt4qg3c42v, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990.
"Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
3362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2008.
"The collection efficiency of the Value Added Tax: Theory and international evidence,"
The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 391-410.
- Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2005. "The Collection Efficiency of the Value Added Tax: Theory and International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2005. "The collection efficiency of the value added tax: theory and international evidence," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt42d103zh, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
- Barro, Robert J., 1990.
"Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth,"
3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
- Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alex Cukierman & Sebastian Edwards & Guido Tabellini, 1989.
"Seigniorage and Political Instability,"
NBER Working Papers
3199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003.
NBER Working Papers
9908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joel Slemrod, 1995. "Involvement, Prosperity, and Economic Growth?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 373-431.
- Roger Gordon & Wei Li, 2005.
"Tax Structure in Developing Countries: Many Puzzles and a Possible Explanation,"
NBER Working Papers
11267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
- Baunsgaard, Thomas & Keen, Michael, 2010.
"Tax revenue and (or?) trade liberalization,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 563-577, October.
- Daria Onori, 2013.
"Optimal Growth under Flow-Based Collaterals,"
- Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2012. "The impact of high government debt on economic growth and its channels: An empirical investigation for the euro area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1392-1405.
- Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2010. "The impact of high and growing government debt on economic growth: an empirical investigation for the euro area," Working Paper Series 1237, European Central Bank.
- Andrew Hughes Hallett & Drew Scott, 2010.
"Scotland: A New Fiscal Settlement,"
CDMA Working Paper Series
201009, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.