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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. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
  3. Shu-Chun S. Yang & Todd B. Walker & Eric M. Leeper, 2010. "Government Investment and Fiscal Stimulus," IMF Working Papers 10/229, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Leeper, Eric M. & Yang, Shu-Chun Susan, 2008. "Dynamic scoring: Alternative financing schemes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 159-182, February.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," NBER Working Papers 2737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2002. "Openness, imperfect exchange rate pass-through and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0128, European Central Bank.
  13. Prescott, Edward C & Mehra, Rajnish, 1980. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case of Homogeneous Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1365-79, September.
  14. Jonas Fisher, 2004. "Technology Shocks Matter," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 14, Econometric Society.
  15. 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.
  16. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  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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