IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework


  • Cukierman, Alex
  • Meltzer, Allan H


In the presence of different abilities, and therefore different bequests, some individuals are bequest constrained even in a neo-Ricardian world. Such individuals vote for taxes on future generations, through the issuance of bonds, thereby increasing their current consumption. This produces some crowding out of capital, reduces wage rates, and increases the interest rate. As a consequence, even unconstrained individuals are no longer indifferent to the size of government debt. The paper derives conditions that are conducive to larger debt and deficits when each of the living generations determines current taxes, social security benefits, and the national debt by majority rule. Copyright 1989 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-732, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:79:y:1989:i:4:p:713-32

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan S. Blinder, 1981. "Retail Inventory Behavior and Business Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 443-520.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1972. "A Theory of Monopolistic Price Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 17-26.
    3. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1987. "The demand for labor in the long run," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-471 Elsevier.
    4. Burgess, Simon M, 1988. "Employment Adjustment in UK Manufacturing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 81-103, March.
    5. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-1044, December.
    6. P. K. Trivedi, 1985. "Distributed Lags, Aggregation and Compounding: Some Econometric Implications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 19-35.
    7. Robert J. Gordon, 1979. "The "End-of-Expansion" Phenomenon in Short-Run Productivity Behavior," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(2), pages 447-462.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:79:y:1989:i:4:p:713-32. 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: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.