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Innovation-led growth in a time of debt

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  • Ferraro, Domenico
  • Peretto, Pietro F.

Abstract

We study the effects of large reductions in government budget deficits (labeled “fiscal consolidations”) on firms’ entry, innovative investments, productivity and per capita output growth in a model of endogenous technological change. Due to the absence of lump-sum taxes, temporary budget deficits set government debt-output ratios on unsustainable paths. An equilibrium then requires the specification of a date at which the debt-output ratio is stabilized at a constant finite value. We discipline parameters using post-war observations for the U.S. economy. We find that fiscal consolidations produce persistent growth slowdowns, permanently lowering the path of per capita output relative to a benchmark economy in which the fiscal consolidation is achieved with lump-sum taxes. These output losses are sizable. In this sense, government debt is a burden on the economy. Tax-based consolidations produce output losses that are twice as large as those from spending-based consolidations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferraro, Domenico & Peretto, Pietro F., 2020. "Innovation-led growth in a time of debt," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:121:y:2020:i:c:s0014292119302119
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2019.103350
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Government debt; Budget deficits; Government spending; Taxes; Growth; Firms’ entry; Innovation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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