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Fiscal rules and the maximum sustainable size of the public debt in the Diamond overlapping generations model

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  • Mark A Roberts
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    Abstract

    We show that the size of the maximum sustainable public debt in the Diamond (1965) OLG model depends on the choice of fiscal instrument. If tax revenue is exogenous, there is a maximum at an interior or bifurcation point, as in Rankin and Roffia’s (2003) initial paper but at a generally higher level than for their case of an exogenous debt. Conversely, if income tax rates are exogenous, the technical maximum is at a corner-point of degeneracy, provided the first Inada condition holds. However, as this implies notional average taxes of 100%, a Laffer Curve becomes important, giving rise to another concept of the maximum debt. More generally, for this closed economy case, the form of the production function in conjunction with the fiscal rule will determine whether the maximum debt is reached at a technical point of bifurcation or at a more behavioural one where tax payers en masse deny further payments to bond holders.

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    Paper provided by University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM) in its series Discussion Papers with number 2013/07.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:not:notcfc:13/07

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    1. Bohn, H., 1990. "The Sutainability Of Budget Deficits In A Stochastic Economy," Weiss Center Working Papers 6-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
    2. Michael Brauninger, 2005. "The Budget Deficit, Public Debt, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 827-840, December.
    3. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
    4. Rowthorn, Robert, 1999. "Unemployment, Wage Bargaining and Capital-Labour Substitution," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 413-25, July.
    5. Feldstein, Martin S, 1977. "The Surprising Incidence of a Tax on Pure Rent: A New Answer to an Old Question," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(2), pages 349-60, April.
    6. Eaton, Jonathan, 1981. "Fiscal Policy, Inflation and the Accumulation of Risky Capital," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 435-45, July.
    7. Chalk, Nigel A., 2000. "The sustainability of bond-financed deficits: An overlapping generations approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 293-328, April.
    8. de la Croix,David & Michel,Philippe, 2002. "A Theory of Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521001151, Fall.
    9. Karl Farmer & Jacopo Zotti, 2010. "Sustainable government debt in a two-good, two-country overlapping generations model," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 289-316, September.
    10. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2007. "Factor Substitution and Factor-Augmenting Technical Progress in the United States: A Normalized Supply-Side System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 183-192, February.
    11. Buchanan, James M & Lee, Dwight R, 1982. "Politics, Time, and the Laffer Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 816-19, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mark Roberts, 2014. "The maximum debt-GDP ratio and endogenous growth in the Diamond overlapping generations model: Three overlapping generations are better than two," Discussion Papers 2013/01, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).

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