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The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution

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  • Tabellini, Guido

Abstract

This paper studies the political-economic equilibrium of a two-period model with overlapping generations. In each period, the policy is chosen under majority rule by the generations currently alive. The paper identifies a "politically viable" set of values for public debt. Any amount of debt within this set is fully repaid in equilibrium, even without commitments. By issuing debt within this set, the first generation redistributes revenue in its favor and away from the second generation. The paper characterizes the determinants of the equilibrium intergenerational redistribution and identifies a difference between debt and social security as instruments of redistribution. Copyright 1991 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 335-357, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:99:y:1991:i:2:p:335-57
    DOI: 10.1086/261753
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    1. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
    2. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1989. "Social Security as Trade among Living Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1182-1195, December.
    3. Chari V. V. & Kehoe Patrick J., 1993. "Sustainable Plans and Debt," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 230-261, December.
    4. Grossman, Herschel I & Van Huyck, John B, 1988. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1088-1097, December.
    5. repec:fth:harver:1461 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-732, September.
    7. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-677, September.
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