The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution
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.
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