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

  • Sutherland, Alan

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-3SX1M4S-C/2/cd06296eb7c1694b4f4b9041b19ca6a0
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 65 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 147-162

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:65:y:1997:i:2:p:147-162
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Allan Drazen & Elhanan Helpman, 1986. "Inflationary Consequences of Anticipated Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 2006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of two Small Euopean Countries," Working Papers 89, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  4. Bertola, G. & Drazen, A., 1991. "Trigger Pointsand Budget Cuts ; Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," Papers 26-91, Tel Aviv.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Allan Drazen, 1989. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed?," NBER Working Papers 3053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  7. Sutherland, Alan, 1995. "Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
  9. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
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