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Generational Theft


  • Neil Buchanan


Despite the oft-heard claims that current generations are stealing from future generations by running fiscal deficits, this author holds that both theory and evidence suggest that this is either not true or not knowable. Intergenerational justice is not an appropriate way to analyze fiscal issues. Now, in particular, such an analysis is misleading and damaging. Spending by the government helps to improve the economy, which encourages businesses to invest in future productivity, which is the only way to make future generations wealthier than their parents. This virtuous cycle is even stronger if the government's spending is itself used to invest in future productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil Buchanan, 2009. "Generational Theft," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(5), pages 44-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:challe:v:52:y:2009:i:5:p:44-54 DOI: 10.2753/0577-5132520503

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 1-33, March.
    2. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, January.
    3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 200-205, May.
    4. Baccaro, Lucio & Rei, Diego, 2007. "Institutional Determinants of Unemployment in OECD Countries: Does the Deregulatory View Hold Water?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 527-569, July.
    5. Kenworthy, Lane, 2008. "Jobs with Equality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199550609, June.
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