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The Dubious Ethics of Debt Default

  • Geoffrey Brennan

    (ANU University of Rome)

  • Giuseppe Eusepi

    (ANU University of Rome)

This article is an engagement with a piece of Buchanan’s on the ethics of debt default, in which Buchanan proved to be surprisingly sympathetic to debt default as an option. Debt default is a current period transfer from bondholders to taxpayers at large. Default cannot then serve to improve, in aggregate, the lot of the generation whose bequest receipts may have been diminished by the use of debt financing. Current generations of taxpayers may have a legitimate complaint against past generations of voters/taxpayers who used debt financing (and reduced their net bequests thereby), but that past generation is beyond the grave and cannot provide recompense.

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Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 30 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 546-561

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:30:y:2002:i:6:p:546-561
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