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Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?

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  • Alan Sutherland

Abstract

This paper shows how the power of fiscal policy to affect consumption can vary depending on the level of public debt. At moderate levels of debt fiscal policy has the traditional Keynesian effects. Current generations of consumers discount future taxes because they may not be alive when taxes are raised (or there will be a larger population available to pay the taxes). But when debt reaches extreme values, current generations of consumers know there is a high probability that they will have to pay extra taxes. An increase in the fiscal deficit has a contractionary effect in these situations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 95/17.

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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:95/17

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Postal: Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
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  1. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of two Small Euopean Countries," Working Papers 89, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Giuseppe Bertola & Allan Drazen, 1991. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," NBER Working Papers 3844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alan Sutherland, . "Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?," Discussion Papers 95/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Allan Drazen, 1989. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed?," NBER Working Papers 3053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:fth:coluec:754 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Drazen, Allan & Helpman, Elhanan, 1990. "Inflationary Consequences of Anticipated Macroeconomic Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 147-64, January.
  8. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  9. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  10. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
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