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The effectiveness of government debt and transfers as insurance

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  • Floden, Martin

Abstract

Government debt and redistributive taxation can help people to smooth consumption when facing uninsurable individual specific risk. I examine the effects that variations in public debt and transfers have on risk sharing, efficiency, and the distribution of resources. I find that risk sharing can be improved significantly by both debt and transfers, but that debt has adverse effects on equity. When used in isolation, debt will enhance welfare if transfers are lower than optimal. However, the beneficial effects of public debt vanish if transfers are used optimally.
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  • Floden, Martin, 2001. "The effectiveness of government debt and transfers as insurance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 81-108, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:48:y:2001:i:1:p:81-108
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    2. Charles Grant & Christos Koulovatianos & Alexander Michaelides & Mario Padula, 2010. "Evidence on the Insurance Effect of Redistributive Taxation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 965-973, November.
    3. Nakajima, Tomoyuki & Takahashi, Shuhei, 2017. "The optimum quantity of debt for Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 17-26.
    4. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Martin Floden & Jesper Lindé, 2001. "Idiosyncratic Risk in the United States and Sweden: Is There a Role for Government Insurance?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 406-437, July.
    7. Paul Hiebert & Javier J. Pérez & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Debt reduction and automatic stabilisation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/12, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    8. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2015. "Public versus private provision of liquidity: Is there a trade-off?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 314-339.
    9. Miguel Viegas & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "Welfare-improving Government Behaviour and Inequality - Inspection Using a Heterogeneous-agent Model," CEF.UP Working Papers 1103, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    10. Leandro Gonçalves do Nascimento, 2004. "Investment in Human Capital in a Macrodynamic Framework: Redistributive Taxation, Public Debt and Welfare," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 539, Econometric Society.
    11. Shuhei Takahashi, 2020. "Time-Varying Wage Risk, Incomplete Markets, and Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 37, pages 195-213, July.
    12. Grant, Charles & Koulovatianos, Christos & Michaelides, Alexander & Padula, Mario, 2008. "Evidence on the Insurance Effect of Marginal Income Taxes," CEPR Discussion Papers 6710, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Viegas, Miguel & Ribeiro, Ana Paula, 2016. "Assessing Welfare Impacts Of Some Debt-Consolidation Episodes In The European Union," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(5), pages 1146-1173, July.
    14. Maarten Janssen & Sandro Shelegia, 2012. "Consumer Search and Vertical Relations: The Triple Marginalization Problem," Vienna Economics Papers 1206, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    15. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten, 2005. "Insurance and Opportunities: The Welfare Implications of Rising Wage Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 107, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Oh, Hyunseung & Reis, Ricardo, 2012. "Targeted transfers and the fiscal response to the great recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 50-64.
    17. Lopez-Daneri, Martin, 2016. "NIT picking: The macroeconomic effects of a Negative Income Tax," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 1-16.
    18. Hiebert, Paul & Pérez, Javier J. & Rostagno, Massimo, 2009. "The trade-off between public debt reduction and automatic stabilisation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 464-472, March.
    19. Clemens, Christiane & Heinemann, Maik, 2015. "Endogenous growth and wealth inequality under incomplete markets and idiosyncratic risk," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 300-317.
    20. Gaillard, Alexandre & Kankanamge, Sumudu, 2018. "Entrepreneurship, Labor Market Mobility and the Role of Entrepreneurial Insurance," TSE Working Papers 18-929, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jan 2019.
    21. David Domeij & Paul Klein, 2002. "Private Pensions: To What Extent Do They Account for Swedish Wealth Inequality?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 503-534, July.
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    23. Willem L. Heeringa & Job Swank, 2019. "Heterogeneous Consumers, Credit Rationing, and Tax-Benefit Policies," De Economist, Springer, vol. 167(2), pages 105-126, June.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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