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Partially sighted persons and the public debt elephant


  • John Considine


  • David Duffy


Recent data on the accumulation patterns of public debt across OECD countries suggests a synthesis is possible between the theoretical and empirical approaches to public debt and also between the traditional and more recent political economy explanations of public debt accumulation. The inductive approach of recent political economy explanations is combined with the intertemporal constraints highlighted in the Ricardian–Barro theory to present a reinterpretation of cross-country debt accumulations patterns. Like the elephant in the blind men and the elephant fable, the conclusion is glaringly obvious. Formal and informal budgetary constraints matter. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Suggested Citation

  • John Considine & David Duffy, 2006. "Partially sighted persons and the public debt elephant," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 237-249, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:17:y:2006:i:4:p:237-249 DOI: 10.1007/s10602-006-9005-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Cooley, Thomas F & Ohanian, Lee E, 1997. "Postwar British Economic Growth and the Legacy of Keynes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 439-472, June.
    3. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
    4. Wilcox, David W, 1989. "The Sustainability of Government Deficits: Implications of the Present-Value Borrowing Constraint," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(3), pages 291-306, August.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
    6. Hamilton, James D & Flavin, Marjorie A, 1986. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for EmpiricalTesting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 808-819, September.
    7. Vaughn, Karen I & Wagner, Richard E, 1992. "Public Debt Controversies: An Essay in Reconciliation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 37-49.
    8. Arthur M. Okun & Nancy H. Teeters, 1970. "The Full Employment Surplus Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(1), pages 77-116.
    9. Buchanan, James M, 1976. "Barro on the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 337-342, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Degiannakis, Stavros & Duffy, David & Filis, George, 2013. "Time-varying Business Cycles Synchronisation in Europe," MPRA Paper 52925, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Stavros Degiannakis & David Duffy & George Filis, 2014. "Business Cycle Synchronization in EU: A Time-Varying Approach," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 61(4), pages 348-370, September.

    More about this item


    Public debt; Budgetary rules; Political economy; H6; B2;

    JEL classification:

    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925


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