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

Debt Neutrality, Professor Vickrey and Henry George's "Single Tax"


Author Info

  • Willem H. Buiter


In the overlapping generations model with uncertain lifetimes, efficient life insurance markets and no operative intergenerational gift and bequest motive, a positive birth rate has been shown to be sufficient and necessary for absence of debt neutrality: equilibrium prices and quantities are independent of the mix of government borrowing and lump-sum taxation, holding constant the path of exhaustive public spending. Implicit in this analysis has been the assumption that the lump-sum tax is a tax on the income from human capital. Postponing lump-sum taxes then makes it possible to shift (part of) the tax burden to future generations if the birth rate is positive. If instead the tax falls on the income from a non-human fixed factor (land) whose ownership claims are priced efficiently, then, if all land is owned by generations currently alive, changes in the intertemporal pattern of taxation do not permit current generations to shift the tax burden to future generations. Taxes on the income from all "fully owned non-human-factors have this property, even those factors supplied elastically, but the latter will of course be subject to the familiar incentive or allocative effects of changes in (non-lump-sume) taxation.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2673.

as in new window
Date of creation: Aug 1988
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Buiter, Willem H. "Debt Neutrality, Professor Vickrey and Henry George's`Single Tax'." From Economics Letters, Vol. 29, pp. 43-47, (1989).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2673

Note: PE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research


Other versions of this item:


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. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Buiter, Willem H, 1988. "Death, Birth, Productivity Growth and Debt Neutrality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 279-93, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

Cited by:
  1. Petrucci, Alberto, 2005. "The Incidence of a Tax on Pure Rent in a Small Open Economy," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp05025, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  2. Ottmar Edenhofer & Linus Mattauch & Jan Siegmeier, 2013. "Hypergeorgism: When is Rent Taxation as a Remedy for Insufficient Capital Accumulation Socially Optimal?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4144, CESifo Group Munich.


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


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2673. 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: ().

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.