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The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy

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  • N. Gregory Mankiw

Abstract

The macroeconomic analysis of fiscal policy is usually based on one of two canonical models--the Barro-Ramsey model of infinitely-lived families or the Diamond-Samuelson model of overlapping generations. This paper argues that neither model is satisfactory and suggests an alternative. In the proposed model, some consumers plan ahead for themselves and their descendants, while others live paycheck to paycheck. This model is easier to reconcile with the essential facts about consumer behavior and wealth accumulation, and it yields some new and surprising conclusions about fiscal policy.
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Suggested Citation

  • N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000. "The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 120-125, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:2:p:120-125 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.2.120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    2. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    3. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
    4. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    5. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Shea, John, 1995. "Union Contracts and the Life-Cycle/Permanent-Income Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 186-200.
    7. Smetters, Kent, 1999. "Ricardian equivalence: long-run Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 395-421.
    8. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    9. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 274-283.
    10. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 274-283.
    11. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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