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Debt and Deficit Fluctuations and the Structure of Bond Markets

  • Marcet, Albert
  • Scott, Andrew

The aim of this Paper is to test for the extent of incompleteness in the market for US Government debt. We show that when a government pursues an optimal tax policy and issues a full set of contingent claims, the value of debt has the same or less persistence than other variables in the economy and declines in response to higher government expenditure shocks. Examining US data, however, reveals that debt is substantially more persistent than other variables and increases in response to adverse expenditure shocks. We show that this behaviour is best accounted for by a model of incomplete markets, where governments only issue one-period risk-free bonds. We discuss the implications of this for the optimality of debt limits, debt management and assessing the sustainability of fiscal policy.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3029.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3029
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  1. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Staff Report 147, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Krusell, P & Smith Jr, A-A, 1995. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomic," RCER Working Papers 399, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  5. Butkiewicz, James L., 1983. "The market value of outstanding government debt : Comment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 373-379.
  6. Missale, Alessandro, 1999. "Public Debt Management," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290858, March.
  7. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 2000. "Assessing the Effects of Fiscal Shocks," NBER Working Papers 7459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Faraglia, Elisa & Marcet, Albert & Scott, Andrew, 2007. "Fiscal Insurance and Debt Management in OECD Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Huw Lloyd-Ellis & Xiaodong Zhu, 2000. "Fiscal Shocks and Fiscal Risk Management," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 108, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  12. Hamilton, James D & Flavin, Marjorie A, 1986. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for EmpiricalTesting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 808-19, September.
  13. Emmanuel Farhi, 2007. "Capital Taxation and Ownership when Markets are Incomplete," NBER Working Papers 13390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gorostiaga Alonso, Miren Arantzazu, 2002. "Should Fiscal Policy be different in a Non-Competitive Framework?," DFAEII Working Papers 2002-28, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  15. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E, 1991. "Testing Intertemporal Budget Constraints: Theory and Applications to U.S. Federal Budget and Current Account Deficits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 206-23, May.
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  19. Gorostiaga, A., 1999. "Should Fiscal Policy be Different in a Non-Competitive Framework?," Papers 9901, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  20. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:789-808 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Faraglia, Elisa & Marcet, Albert & Scott, Andrew, 2010. "In search of a theory of debt management," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 821-836, October.
  22. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal fiscal policy in a business cycle model," Staff Report 160, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. Zhu, Xiaodong, 1992. "Optimal fiscal policy in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 250-289, December.
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  25. International Monetary Fund, 1995. "The Role of Foreign Currency Debt in Public Debt Management," IMF Working Papers 95/21, International Monetary Fund.
  26. Bohn, Henning, 1990. "Tax Smoothing with Financial Instruments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1217-30, December.
  27. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  28. den Haan, Wouter J & Marcet, Albert, 1990. "Solving the Stochastic Growth Model by Parameterizing Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 31-34, January.
  29. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1996. "A Scorecard for Indexed Government Data," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1758, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  30. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 540-42, August.
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  32. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  33. Christopher Sleet, 2004. "Optimal Taxation with Private Government Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1217-1239, October.
  34. Francisco Buera & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2000. "Optimal Maturity of Government Debt with Incomplete Markets," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1769, Econometric Society.
  35. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  36. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy With Noncontingent Debt And The Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131, August.
  37. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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