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Debt and deficit fluctuations and the structure of bond markets

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  • Marcet, Albert
  • Scott, Andrew

Abstract

We analyse the implications of optimal taxation for the stochastic behaviour of debt. We show that when a government pursues an optimal fiscal policy under complete markets, the value of debt has the same or less persistence than other variables in the economy and it declines in response to shocks that cause the deficit to increase. By contrast, under incomplete markets debt shows more persistence than other variables and it increases in response to shocks that cause a higher deficit. Data for US government debt reveals diametrically opposite results from those of complete markets and is much more supportive of bond market incompleteness.

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  • Marcet, Albert & Scott, Andrew, 2009. "Debt and deficit fluctuations and the structure of bond markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 473-501, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:2:p:473-501
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Complete vs incomplete markets Debt management Fiscal deficits Government debt Optimal fiscal policy Tax smoothing;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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