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Understanding Public Debt Preferences

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  • Friedrich Heinemann
  • Tanja Hennighausen

Abstract

Surprisingly little is known about voters´ public debt preferences on a micro level. This is deplorable, given the importance of the fiscal stability culture in the context of the European public debt crisis. This contribution tests, for a self-designed representative German survey, debt preferences and their determinants. Our results indicate that a Ricardian approach has some importance for explaining individual heterogeneity of consolidation preferences -- emphasizing, for example, the importance of individual credit constraints. However, Ricardian reasoning is not able to give a complete picture. Theories of debt determination that point to societal coordination failures or ideology offer additional explanations with empirical backing. The magnitude of these additional effects is substantial; the size of the trust variable is not smaller than the intergenerational dummy for the presence of children.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedrich Heinemann & Tanja Hennighausen, 2012. "Understanding Public Debt Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 68(4), pages 406-430, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201212)68:4_406:updp_2.0.tx_2-i
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X659556
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:42-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Borck, Rainald & Fossen, Frank M. & Freier, Ronny & Martin, Thorsten, 2015. "Race to the debt trap? — Spatial econometric evidence on debt in German municipalities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 20-37.
    3. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2014. "Public Preferences for Government Spending Priorities: Survey Evidence from Germany," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201457, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    4. repec:bpj:pewipo:v:18:y:2017:i:2:p:145-158:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Dirk Bursian & Alfons Weichenrieder & Jochen Zimmer, 2015. "Trust in government and fiscal adjustments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(4), pages 663-682, August.
    6. Heinemann, Friedrich & Osterloh, Steffen & Kalb, Alexander, 2014. "Sovereign risk premia: The link between fiscal rules and stability culture," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 110-127.
    7. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2017. "Public Attitudes toward Fiscal Consolidation: Evidence from a Representative German Population Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 42-69, February.
    8. Hayo, Bernd & Neumeier, Florian, 2017. "The (In)validity of the Ricardian equivalence theorem–findings from a representative German population survey," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 162-174.
    9. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "The debt brake in the eyes of the German population," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 139-159, January.
    10. Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem & Christoph Schinke, 2016. "Debt Brakes in the German States: Governments’ Rhetoric and Actions," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(2), pages 253-275, May.
    11. Dixon, R. & Griffiths, W. & Lim, G.C., 2014. "Lay people’s models of the economy: A study based on surveys of consumer sentiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 13-20.
    12. Pierre Mandon, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion," Working Papers halshs-01015756, HAL.
    13. Pierre Mandon, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality," Working Papers hal-01015439, HAL.
    14. Pierre MANDON, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion," Working Papers 201414, CERDI.
    15. Dilla, Diana, 2017. "Staatsverschuldung und Verschuldungsmentalität
      [Public Debt and Debt Mentality]
      ," MPRA Paper 79432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Christian Bergholz & Ivo Bischoff, 2015. "Citizens‘ preferences for inter-municipal cooperation in rural areas: evidence from a survey in three Hessian counties," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201523, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    17. Pierre Mandon, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion," Working Papers halshs-01015760, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ricardian equivalence; stability culture; European debt crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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