IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/dyncon/v83y2017icp162-174.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Optimal public debt redux

Author

Listed:
  • Chatterjee, Santanu
  • Gibson, John
  • Rioja, Felix

Abstract

We examine the role played by government investment in infrastructure in determining the optimal quantity of public debt in a heterogeneous agent economy with incomplete insurance markets. Calibrating our model to the key aggregate and distributional moments of the U.S. economy for the period 1990–2015, we show that (i) the inclusion of infrastructure, and (ii) transitional dynamics between stationary states critically affect the characterization of the optimal level of public debt. Our results indicate that the inclusion of public infrastructure in the model specification implies a lower optimal debt level relative to the specification without infrastructure, both when comparing stationary equilibria and when accounting for transitional dynamics. When welfare comparisons are made by comparing stationary equilibria, we find that it is optimal for the government to accumulate assets (public surplus). However, once transitional dynamics are accounted for, accumulating debt becomes optimal, with the optimal share implied by our model being significantly higher than the average public debt-GDP ratio for the U.S. observed during our sample period.

Suggested Citation

  • Chatterjee, Santanu & Gibson, John & Rioja, Felix, 2017. "Optimal public debt redux," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 162-174.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:83:y:2017:i:c:p:162-174
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2017.08.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165188917301781
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
    2. Sebastian Dyrda & Marcelo Pedroni, 2015. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Model with Uninsurable Idiosyncratic Shocks," Working Papers tecipa-550, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    3. Aiyagari, S. Rao & McGrattan, Ellen R., 1998. "The optimum quantity of debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 447-469, October.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    5. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    6. Audrey Desbonnet & Thomas Weitzenblum, 2012. "Why Do Governments End Up With Debt? Short-Run Effects Matter," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(4), pages 905-919, October.
    7. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1994. "Public investment in infrastructure in a simple growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1173-1187, November.
    8. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
    9. Acikgoz, Omer, 2013. "Transitional Dynamics and Long-run Optimal Taxation Under Incomplete Markets," MPRA Paper 50160, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7991 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Does public capital crowd out private capital?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-188, September.
    12. Chatterjee, Santanu & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2012. "Infrastructure and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1730-1745.
    13. Pedro R.D. Bom & Jenny E. Ligthart, 2014. "What Have We Learned From Three Decades Of Research On The Productivity Of Public Capital?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 889-916, December.
    14. Ozan Bakis & Baris Kaymak & Markus Poschke, 2015. "Transitional Dynamics and the Optimal Progressivity of Income Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 679-693, July.
    15. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2017. "Reducing government debt in the presence of inequality," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-20.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. John Gibson & James P Henson, 2016. "Getting the most from MATLAB: ditching canned routines and embracing coder," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(4), pages 2519-2525.
    2. Ludovit Odor, 2016. "What should we include in the Fiscal Space Review?," Discussion Papers Discussion Paper No. 5/20, Council for Budget Responsibility.
    3. Zuzana Mucka & Ludovit Odor, 2018. "Optimal sovereign debt: Case of Slovakia," Working Papers Working Paper No. 3/2018, Council for Budget Responsibility.
    4. Marco Cozzi, 2019. "Has the Canadian Public Debt Been Too High? A Quantitative Assessment," Department Discussion Papers 1901, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    5. Erick Sager & William B. Peterman, 2018. "Optimal Public Debt with Life Cycle Motives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-028, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 20 Apr 2018.
    6. Chatterjee, Santanu & Gibson, John & Rioja, Felix, 2018. "Public investment, debt, and welfare: A quantitative analysis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 204-217.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Infrastructure; Public investment; Heterogeneous agents; Public debt; Welfare; Transitional dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:eee:dyncon:v:83:y:2017:i:c:p:162-174. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.