Economic Effects of Federal Credit Programs
Since 1980, the federal government has directly subsidized one-third of all nonfederal borrowing. This paper presents numerical estimates of the effects of federal lending. Existing credit subsidies appear to have important effects on the allocation of credit, but little effect on aggregate investment. Efficiency costs are shown to be large (approximately 1/3 percent of GNP). Government costs exceed fifty cents per dollar of incremental targeted lending. Interactions among programs can eliminate much or all of the original gain provided by a subsidy, especially if borrowers are rationed. The paper also examines the effects of several policy reforms. Copyright 1991 by American Economic Association.
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