IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cbe/wpaper/201803.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimal sovereign debt: Case of Slovakia

Author

Listed:
  • Zuzana Mucka

    (Council for Budget Responsibility)

  • Ludovit Odor

    (National Bank of Slovakia)

Abstract

This study exploits the trade-off between government debt as an asset that can be used for self- insurance against idiosyncratic income shocks and the distortions on labor and capital supply created by taxes needed to finance debt. In deriving optimal debt level, the paper explicitly considers a trade-off between the pain of fiscal adjustment (assuming that the current debt ratio is above the steady state optimal one) and the gain from reaching the ideal steady state level. To determine the optimal quantity of public debt the study uses a heterogeneous agent closed-economy model with incomplete insurance markets and endogenous labour supply. Furthermore, the model is enriched by welfare-increasing government activity via by productive government investment and provision of public goods. The modelling framework with uninsurable idiosyncratic productivity shocks, the degree of inequality implied by the model and restricted borrowing give rise to non-trivial effects of public debt on the economy. On the one hand, higher public debt can relax borrowing constraints of households by increasing liquidity and thus facilitating consumption-smoothing. On the other hand, rising public debt crowds out private investments and therefore lowers wages and consumption in equilibrium. Therefore, a priori it is not clear which effect is stronger. The optimal public debt is determined based on welfare comparison between stationary equilibria when transitional dynamics are either ignored or accounted for. The paper shows that public investments play an important role as they generate positive spillover effects in the private sector by boosting the productivity of labor and capital. This reduces the precautionary savings motives for households, as they can rely more on labor income. Transitionary welfare effects work differently. Reduction in public debt leads to a reduction of the tax rate in the long run. However, debt reduction requires an increase in the tax rate in the short run, which has a negative effect on welfare. Therefore, ignoring these adjustment costs, optimal debt levels would be very large and negative (government accumulates assets of 130 percent of GDP) accompanied with large welfare gains (more than 20 percent) which is fully consistent with the literature on optimal public debt (Chatterjee et al. (2017), Rohrs and Winter (2017), Aiyagari and McGrattan (1998)). However, with transitional dynamics considered, the optimal debt ratio remains positive but lower than the current level of debt (27-30 percent of GDP). The corresponding consumption-equivalent welfare gains are low, between 1.91 and 2.27 percent depending on the presence of public investment. Relatively low optimal debt level is due to low level of idiosyncratic labor income volatility as a result of low empirical wealth inequality. Hence self-insurance via private capital is more than enough and higher provision of government insurance via sovereign bonds is not necessary. Furthermore, from the perspective of rapid population ageing expected in Slovakia, calls for even more prudent levels of public debt gain relevancy. The only reason why Slovakia should have public debt at all in this model is that it is painful to get rid of the existing debt. The validity of results is supported by numerous robustness check exercises: change to model calibration, different policy rule, modified tax system, impact of public goods provision on household social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Zuzana Mucka & Ludovit Odor, 2018. "Optimal sovereign debt: Case of Slovakia," Working Papers Working Paper No. 3/2018, Council for Budget Responsibility.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbe:wpaper:201803
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.rozpoctovarada.sk/download2/cbr_wp_03_2018.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2012. "Debt dilution and seniority in a model of defaultable sovereign debt," Working Papers 12-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7991 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Karen Kopecky & Richard Suen, 2010. "Finite State Markov-chain Approximations to Highly Persistent Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(3), pages 701-714, July.
    4. Chatterjee, Santanu & Gibson, John & Rioja, Felix, 2017. "Optimal public debt redux," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 162-174.
    5. Atish R. Ghosh & Jun I. Kim & Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry & Mahvash S. Qureshi, 2013. "Fiscal Fatigue, Fiscal Space and Debt Sustainability in Advanced Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 4-30, February.
    6. Aiyagari, S. Rao & McGrattan, Ellen R., 1998. "The optimum quantity of debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 447-469, October.
    7. David Domeij & Jonathan Heathcote, 2004. "On The Distributional Effects Of Reducing Capital Taxes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 523-554, May.
    8. Trimborn, Timo & Koch, Karl-Josef & Steger, Thomas M., 2008. "Multidimensional Transitional Dynamics: A Simple Numerical Procedure," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 301-319, June.
    9. Maliar, Lilia & Maliar, Serguei, 2013. "Envelope condition method versus endogenous grid method for solving dynamic programming problems," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 262-266.
    10. Barillas, Francisco & Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus, 2007. "A generalization of the endogenous grid method," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2698-2712, August.
    11. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    12. John Rust & Bertel Schjerning & Fedor Iskhakov, 2012. "A generalized endogenous grid method for discrete-continuous choice," 2012 Meeting Papers 1162, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    14. Zuzana Mucka & Ludovit Odor, 2017. "Sovereign default risk and debt limits: Case of Slovakia," Working Papers Working Paper No. 1/2017, Council for Budget Responsibility.
    15. Fatih Guvenen, 2011. "Macroeconomics with hetereogeneity : a practical guide," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, vol. 97(3Q), pages 255-326.
    16. Ozan Bakis & Baris Kaymak & Markus Poschke, 2015. "Transitional Dynamics and the Optimal Progressivity of Income Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 679-693, July.
    17. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2017. "Reducing government debt in the presence of inequality," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-20.
    18. Kirkby, Robert, 2017. "Transition paths for Bewley-Huggett-Aiyagari models: Comparison of some solution algorithms," Working Paper Series 5642, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    19. Huixin Bi & Eric M. Leeper, 2013. "Analyzing Fiscal Sustainability," Staff Working Papers 13-27, Bank of Canada.
    20. William B. Peterman & Erick Sager, 2018. "Optimal Public Debt with Life Cycle Motives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-028, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
    22. Audrey Desbonnet & Thomas Weitzenblum, 2012. "Why do governments end up with debt ? Short-run effects matter," Post-Print hal-01518357, HAL.
    23. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 843-921, Elsevier.
    2. Clemens, Christiane & Heinemann, Maik, 2015. "Endogenous growth and wealth inequality under incomplete markets and idiosyncratic risk," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 300-317.
    3. Hsu, Minchung & Yang, C.C., 2013. "Optimal linear and two-bracket income taxes with idiosyncratic earnings risk," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 58-71.
    4. Robert Kirkby Author-Email: robertkirkby@gmail.com|, 2017. "Convergence of Discretized Value Function Iteration," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 49(1), pages 117-153, January.
    5. Ayse Kabukcuoglu & Enrique Martínez-García, 2016. "The Market Resources Method for Solving Dynamic Optimization Problems," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1607, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    6. Fève, Patrick & Matheron, Julien & Sahuc, Jean-Guillaume, 2012. "The Laffer Curve in an Incomplete-Market Economy," IDEI Working Papers 707, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jul 2013.
    7. Zhen Huo & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2015. "Tightening Financial Frictions on Households, Recessions, and Price Reallocations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 118-139, January.
    8. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "On the optimal progressivity of the income tax code," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1425-1450, October.
    9. Kartik B. Athreya & Andrea L. Waddle, 2007. "Implications of some alternatives to capital income taxation," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, vol. 93(Win), pages 31-55.
    10. Kaymak, Barış & Poschke, Markus, 2016. "The evolution of wealth inequality over half a century: The role of taxes, transfers and technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-25.
    11. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200510 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    13. Vogel, Edgar, 2014. "Optimal Level of Government Debt: Matching Wealth Inequality and the Fiscal Sector," MEA discussion paper series 201410, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    14. Ruediger Bachmann & Jinhui Bai, 2013. "Politico-Economic Inequality and the Comovement of Government Purchases," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 565-580, October.
    15. Antonio Antunes & Valerio Ercolani, 2020. "Public debt expansions and the dynamics of the household borrowing constraint," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 37, pages 1-32, July.
    16. Vogel, Edgar, 2014. "Optimal level of government debt - matching wealth inequality and the fiscal sector," Working Paper Series 1665, European Central Bank.
    17. Ozan Bakis & Baris Kaymak & Markus Poschke, 2015. "Transitional Dynamics and the Optimal Progressivity of Income Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 679-693, July.
    18. Chatterjee, Santanu & Gibson, John & Rioja, Felix, 2017. "Optimal public debt redux," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 162-174.
    19. Kabukçuoğlu, Ayşe, 2017. "The winners and losers of tax reform: An assessment under financial integration," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 90-122.
    20. Matteo Iacoviello, 2008. "Household Debt and Income Inequality, 1963–2003," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(5), pages 929-965, August.
    21. Alisdair McKay, 2011. "Household Saving Behavior and Social Security Privatization," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-027, Boston University - Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Infrastructure; public investment; heterogeneous agents; public debt; welfare; transitional dynamics.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cbe:wpaper:201803. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/rrzbrsk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/rrzbrsk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.