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Public Debt As Private Wealth: Some Equilibrium Considerations

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  • Ekkehart Schlicht

Abstract

Government bonds are interest-bearing assets. Increasing public debt increases wealth, income and consumption demand. The smaller government expenditure is, the larger consumption demand must be in equilibrium, and the larger must be public debt. Conversely, lower public debt implies higher government spending and taxation. Public debt plays, thus, an important role in establishing equilibrium. It distributes output between consumers and government. In case of insufficient demand, a larger public debt entails higher private consumption and less public spending. If upper bounds on public debt are introduced (as in the Maastricht treaty), such constraints place lower bounds on taxation and public spending and may rule out macroeconomic equilibrium. As an aside, a minor flaw in Domar's (American Economic Review, 34 (4), pp. 798-827) classical analysis is corrected. Copyright © 2006 The Author; Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Ekkehart Schlicht, 2006. "Public Debt As Private Wealth: Some Equilibrium Considerations," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 494-520, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:metroe:v:57:y:2006:i:4:p:494-520
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barro, Robert J, 1989. "The Ricardian Approach to Budget Deficits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 37-54, Spring.
    2. 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..
    3. Berben, Robert-Paul & Brosens, Teunis, 2007. "The impact of government debt on private consumption in OECD countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 220-225, February.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
    5. Sayer, Stuart, 1989. " Macroeconomic Theory and Policy," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 353-374.
    6. James M. Poterba, 2000. "Stock Market Wealth and Consumption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 99-118, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ums:papers:2012-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Peter Skott & Soon Ryoo, 2011. "Public debt in an OLG model with imperfect competition," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-25, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    3. Soon Ryoo & Peter Skott, 2013. "Public debt and full employment in a stock-flow consistent model of a corporate economy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 511-528.
    4. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 2012. "A Case Where Barro Expectations Are Not Rational," Discussion Papers in Economics 12715, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    5. Ekkehart Schlicht, 2016. "Directed Technical Change and Capital Deepening: A Reconsideration of Kaldor's Technical Progress Function," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 119-151, February.
    6. Pedro Leão, 2013. "The Effect of Government Spending on the Debt-to-GDP Ratio: Some Keynesian Arithmetic," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 448-465, July.
    7. Peter Skott, 2016. "Aggregate demand, functional finance, and secular stagnation," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 13(2), pages 172-188, September.
    8. Skott Peter & Ryoo Soon, 2014. "Public debt in an OLG model with imperfect competition: long-run effects of austerity programs and changes in the growth rate," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-20, January.
    9. repec:bla:metroe:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:500-548 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Nakatani, Takeshi & Skott, Peter, 2007. "Japanese growth and stagnation: A Keynesian perspective," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 306-332, September.
    11. Skott, Peter, 2016. "Weaknesses of 'wage-led growth'," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2016-08, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    12. Muriel Pucci & Bruno Tinel, 2010. "Réductions d'impôts et dette publique : un lien à ne pas occulter," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00488760, HAL.
    13. Soon Ryoo & Peter Skott, 2017. "Fiscal and Monetary Policy Rules in an Unstable Economy," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 500-548, July.
    14. Skott, Peter & Ryoo, Soon, 2015. "Functional finance and intergenerational distribution in a Keynesian OLG model," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2015-13, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    15. Ekkehart Schlicht, 2013. "Unexpected Consequences of Ricardian Expectations," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 498-512, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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