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Quantifying the Distortionary Fiscal Cost of ‘The Bailout’

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  • Gomes, Francisco J
  • Michaelides, Alexander
  • Polkovnichenko, Valery

Abstract

We utilize an overlapping generations model with endogenous production and incomplete markets to quantify the distortionary costs associated with financing the increase in government expenditures directed to investments in the private sector in 2008 and 2009 (a.k.a. ‘the bailout’), and its differential impact on different groups of the population (in the U.S.A.). In our baseline calibration, this distortion corresponds to a loss of approximately $300 billion dollars in total household consumption. For plausible alternative assumptions regarding both the expected and actual duration of this increase in expenditures, or the willingness of foreign institutions and/or investors in absorbing additional government debt, this number can increase to $800 billion. We find that the cost falls more dramatically on those households which are either older and/or wealthier. Retirees face approximately 50% of the cost, as younger agents are more likely to still be alive when the economy has returned to its steady-state. Across wealth groups, the top 25% of the wealth distribution bears almost two thirds of the cost.

Suggested Citation

  • Gomes, Francisco J & Michaelides, Alexander & Polkovnichenko, Valery, 2010. "Quantifying the Distortionary Fiscal Cost of ‘The Bailout’," CEPR Discussion Papers 7941, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7941
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Malherbe, Frederic, 2015. "Optimal capital requirements over the business and financial cycles," Working Paper Series 1830, European Central Bank.
    3. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2015. "Public versus private provision of liquidity: Is there a trade-off?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 314-339.
    4. Vogel, Edgar, 2014. "Optimal level of government debt - matching wealth inequality and the fiscal sector," Working Paper Series 1665, European Central Bank.
    5. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bailout; Fiscal Policy; Government Debt; Incomplete Financial Markets.; Tax Distortions;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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