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Economic and Politico-Economic Equivalence

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We extend "economic equivalence" results, like the Ricardian equivalence proposition, to the political sphere where policy is chosen sequentially. We derive conditions under which a policy regime (summarizing admissible policy choices in every period) and a state are "politico-economically equivalent" to another such pair, in the sense that both pairs give rise to the same equilibrium allocation. We apply the conditions in the context of politico-economic theories of government debt as a means to i) deliver intergenerational transfers or ii) smooth tax distortions. We find that certain politico-economic models of social security or variants thereof can be re-interpreted as novel politico-economic theories of debt while other models cannot, possibly explaining the political conflict surrounding social security reform. We also find that in environments with distorting taxes, economic equivalence relations between policies with different levels of debt do not extend to the political sphere.

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Paper provided by Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee in its series Working Papers with number 12.02.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:szg:worpap:1202

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  1. Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2000. "Nominal Debt as a Burden to Monetary Policy," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1387, Econometric Society.
  2. Gonzalez-Eiras, Marti­n & Niepelt, Dirk, 2008. "The future of social security," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 197-218, March.
  3. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2007. "Rotten Parents and Disciplined Children: A Politico-Economic Theory of Public Expenditure and Debt," 2007 Meeting Papers 685, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Ghiglino, Christian & Shell, Karl, 2000. "The Economic Effects of Restrictions on Government Budget Deficits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 106-137, September.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Martin Feldstein & Horst Siebert, 2002. "Social Security Pension Reform in Europe," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld02-2, octubre-d.
  8. Fernando A. Broner & Alberto Martín & Jaume Ventura, 2006. "Sovereign Risk and Secondary Markets," Working Papers 288, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Niepelt, Dirk, 2004. "Social Security Reform: Economics and Politics," Seminar Papers 732, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  10. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  11. Marco Bassetto & Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "On the Irrelevance of Government Debt When Taxes are Distortionary," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000295, David K. Levine.
  12. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  13. Dirk Niepelt, 2008. "Debt Maturity without Commitment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2500, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Thomas F. Cooley & Jorge Soares, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Social Security Based on Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 135-160, February.
  15. Martín Gonzalez Eiras, 2010. "Social Security as Markov Equilibrium in OLG Models: A Note," Working Papers 105, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Sep 2010.
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Cited by:
  1. Dirk Niepelt & Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, 2010. "Ageing, Government Budgets, Retirement, and Growth," 2010 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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