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Procyclical Debt as Automatic Stabilizer

  • Wesselbaum, D.

This paper shows that government debt creates a so far neglected wealth effect that has sizable effects on business cycle fluctuations. We present a new channel through which governments can influence cyclical fluctuations generated by any type of shock and contribute to macroeconomic stability. We provide evidence for the United States that debt moves procyclical with output. Then, we build a Real Business Cycle model with Non-Ricardian agents and use rules to describe fiscal policy. We show that procyclical debt generates smaller fluctuations compared to countercyclical debt. The striking consequence is that classical Keynesian fiscal policy destabilizes the business cycle in our framework.

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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 444.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:444
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
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  1. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  3. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
  4. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Frenkel, Jacob A & Razin, Assaf, 1986. "Fiscal Policies in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 564-94, June.
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  9. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "Openness, imperfect exchange rate pass-through and monetary policy," Working Paper Research 19, National Bank of Belgium.
  10. Shu-Chun S. Yang & Todd B. Walker & Eric M. Leeper, 2010. "Government Investment and Fiscal Stimulus," IMF Working Papers 10/229, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Prescott, Edward C & Mehra, Rajnish, 1980. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case of Homogeneous Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1365-79, September.
  13. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2002. "Technology shocks matter," Working Paper Series WP-02-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  15. Eric M. Leeper & Michael Plante & Nora Traum, 2009. "Dynamics of Fiscal Financing in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eric Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Susan Shu-Chun Yang, 2009. "Government Investment And Fiscal Stimulus In The Short And Long Runs," Caepr Working Papers 2009-011, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  17. Jacob A. Frenkel & Assaf Razin, 1986. "Fiscal Policies and Real Exchange Rates in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 2065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Leith, Campbell & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2000. "Interactions between Monetary and Fiscal Policy Rules," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C93-108, March.
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