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Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?

  • Sutherland, Alan

This paper shows how the power of fiscal policy to affect consumption can vary depending on the level of public debt. At moderate levels of debt fiscal policy has the traditional Keynesian effects. Current generations of consumers discount future taxes because they may not be alive when taxes are raised (or there will be a larger population available to pay the taxes). But when debt reaches extreme values, current generations of consumers know there is a high probability that they will have to pay extra taxes. An increase in the fiscal deficit has a contractionary effect in these situations.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1246.

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Date of creation: Sep 1995
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1246
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  1. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1993. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 11-26, March.
  2. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  3. Alan Sutherland, . "Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?," Discussion Papers 95/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
  4. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of Two Small European Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 417, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-88, December.
  8. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Allan Drazen & Elhanan Helpman, 1986. "Inflationary Consequences of Anticipated Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 2006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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