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Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?

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  • Sutherland, Alan

Abstract

This paper shows how the power of fiscal policy to affect consumption can vary depending on the level of public debt. At moderate levels of debt fiscal policy has the traditional Keynesian effects. Current generations of consumers discount future taxes because they may not be alive when taxes are raised (or there will be a larger population available to pay the taxes). But when debt reaches extreme values, current generations of consumers know there is a high probability that they will have to pay extra taxes. An increase in the fiscal deficit has a contractionary effect in these situations.
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  • Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:65:y:1997:i:2:p:147-162
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    1. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," NBER Working Papers 5332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 5(Fall).
    3. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of Two Small European Countries," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 75-122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
    6. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
    7. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1993. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 11-26, March.
    8. Allan Drazen & Elhanan Helpman, 1990. "Inflationary Consequences of Anticipated Macroeconomic Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 147-164.
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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
    • H69 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Other

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