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Fiscal Policy With Impure Intergenerational Altruism

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  • Andrew B. Abel
  • B. Douglas Bernheim

Abstract

Recent work demonstrates that dynastic assumptions guarantee the irrelevance of all redistributional polices, distortionary taxes, and prices--the neutrality of fiscal policy (Ricardian equivalence) is only the "tip of the iceberg." In this paper, we investigate the possibility of reinstating approximate Ricardian equivalence. by introducing a small amount of friction in intergenerational links. If Ricardian equivalence depends upon significantly shorter chains of links than do these stronger neutrality results, then friction my dissipate the effects that generate strong neutrality, without significantly affecting the Ricardian result. Although this intuition turns out to be essentially correct, we show that models with small amounts of friction have other untenable implications. We conclude that the theoretical case for Ricardian equivalence remains tenuous.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2613.

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Date of creation: Jan 1992
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Publication status: published as Econometrica, Vol. 59, No. 6, pp. 1687-1711, (November 1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2613

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  1. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Sáez-Martí, María & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2002. "Discounting and Future Selves," Working Paper Series 575, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Theories of persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-476 Elsevier.
  3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Sergei Severinov, 2003. "Bequests as Signals: An Explanation for the Equal Division Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 733-764, August.
  4. Richard Cornes & Jun-ichi Itaya & Aiko Tanaka, 2011. "Private Provision of Public Goods between Families," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2011-542, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  5. Dutta, Jayasri & Michel, Philippe, 1998. "The Distribution of Wealth with Imperfect Altruism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 379-404, October.
  6. Smetters, Kent, 1999. "Ricardian equivalence: long-run Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 395-421, September.
  7. Preston J. Miller & Will Roberds, 1989. "How little we know about budget policy effects," Staff Report 120, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Uhlig, Harald & Yanagawa, Noriyuki, 1996. "Increasing the capital income tax may lead to faster growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1521-1540, November.
  9. Philippe Méral, 1998. "Future generations and economic activities: The case of the social discount rate," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 1-14, March.
  10. Uhlig, H. & Yanagawa, N., 1994. "Increasing the Capital Income Tax Leads to Faster Growth," Discussion Paper 1994-115, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  11. Richard Howarth & Richard Norgaard, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers and the social discount rate," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 337-358, August.
  12. Preston J. Miller & William Roberds, 1992. "How little we know about deficit policy effects," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-11.
  13. Richard N. Vaughan, . "Intergenerational Altruism, Ricardian Equivalence and the Relevance of Distributional Policy," ELSE working papers 052, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  14. Eduardo Ley, 1996. "Optimal Provision of Public Goods with Altruistic Individuals," Public Economics 9607001, EconWPA, revised 06 Oct 2001.
  15. Jorge E. Ara�a & Carmelo J. León, 2002. "Willingness to pay for health risk reduction in the context of altruism," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(7), pages 623-635.
  16. Severinov, Sergei, 2006. "Bequests as signals: Implications for fiscal policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1995-2008, November.
  17. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Intergenerational Altruism and Social Welfare: A Critique of the Dynastic Model," NBER Working Papers 2288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Daniel Barczyk, 2013. "Deficits, Gifts, and Bequests," 2013 Meeting Papers 25, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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