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The Economic Effects of Restrictions on Government Budget Deficits

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  • Ghiglino, Christian
  • Shell, Karl

Abstract

In overlapping-generations economies with perfect financial markets and lumpsum taxation, restrictions on the government budget deficits do not limit the set of achievable allocations. For economies in which tax instruments are distortionary and limited in number, deficits are irrelevant only in the unrealistic case in which the number of tax instruments is large relative to the number of policy goals. In particular, if the government can use only anonymous consumption taxes, then achieving the prescribed deficits without changing the equilibrium allocation will typically be impossible when the number of consumers exceeds the number of commodities. A similar result holds if consumer credit is (exogenously) restricted. Surprisingly, in this case, distortionary taxes may be more likely than lump-sum taxes to lead to the irrelevance of government deficits. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: D51, D91, E32. Keywords: Balanced Budget, Balanced-Budget Amendment, Burden of the Public Debt, Comparative Statics, Consumption Taxes, Credit Restrictions, Distortionary Taxes, Economic Policy, Government Budget Deficit, Maastricht Treaty, Optimal Taxation, Overlapping Generations.
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  • Ghiglino, Christian & Shell, Karl, 2000. "The Economic Effects of Restrictions on Government Budget Deficits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 106-137, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:94:y:2000:i:1:p:106-137
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Evans & Kerk Phillips, 2014. "OLG Life Cycle Model Transition Paths: Alternate Model Forecast Method," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 105-131, January.
    2. Huberto M. Ennis & Todd Keister, 2001. "Optimal policy with probabilistic equilibrium selection," Working Paper 01-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    3. Dirk Niepelt & Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, 2008. "Economic and Politico-Economic Equivalence of Fiscal Policies," 2008 Meeting Papers 631, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Dirk Niepelt, 2018. "Financial Policy," Diskussionsschriften dp1802, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    5. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Guzman, Mark G. & Shell, Karl, 1998. "Price Level Volatility: A Simple Model of Money Taxes and Sunspots," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 401-430, August.
    6. Gonzalez-Eiras, Martin & Niepelt, Dirk, 2012. "Economic and Politico-Economic Equivalence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9203, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2002. "Generational policy," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 27, pages 1873-1932 Elsevier.
    8. Martin Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2015. "Politico-Economic Equivalence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 843-862, October.
    9. Gaetano Antinolfi & Todd Keister, 2001. "Dollarization as a monetary arrangement for emerging market economies," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov., pages 29-40.
    10. Chari, V. V., 2000. "Limits of Markets and Limits of Governments: An Introduction to a Symposium on Political Economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 1-6, September.

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    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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