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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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File URL: http://www.banque-france.fr/uploads/tx_bdfdocumentstravail/DT-444_01.pdf
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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

Web page: http://www.banque-france.fr/

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  1. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  2. Eric M. Leeper & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2006. "Dynamic Scoring: Alternative Financing Schemes," NBER Working Papers 12103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  5. Leeper, Eric M. & Plante, Michael & Traum, Nora, 2010. "Dynamics of fiscal financing in the United States," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(2), pages 304-321, June.
  6. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 467, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2002. "Openness, imperfect exchange rate pass-through and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 947-981, July.
  8. Jonas Fisher, 2004. "Technology Shocks Matter," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 14, Econometric Society.
  9. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Leeper, Eric M. & Walker, Todd B. & Yang, Shu-Chun S., 2010. "Government investment and fiscal stimulus," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1000-1012, November.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-73, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  14. Prescott, Edward C & Mehra, Rajnish, 1980. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case of Homogeneous Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1365-79, September.
  15. Michael Woodford, 1995. "Price Level Determinacy Without Control of a Monetary Aggregate," NBER Working Papers 5204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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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