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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. Eric M. Leeper & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2006. "Dynamic Scoring: Alternative Financing Schemes," NBER Working Papers 12103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jonas Fisher, 2004. "Technology Shocks Matter," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 14, Econometric Society.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.).
  5. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Prescott, Edward C & Mehra, Rajnish, 1980. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case of Homogeneous Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1365-79, September.
  10. 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.
  11. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  16. Michael Woodford, 1995. "Price Level Determinacy Without Control of a Monetary Aggregate," NBER Working Papers 5204, 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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