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The Effectiveness of Government Debt and Transfers as Insurance

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  • Martin Floden

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

Government debt and redistributive taxation can help people to smooth consumption when facing uninsurable individual specific risk. I examine the effects that variations in public debt and transfers have on risk sharing, efficiency, and the distribution of resources. I find that risk sharing can be improved significantly by both debt and transfers, but that debt has adverse effects on equity. When used in isolation, debt will enhance welfare if transfers are lower than optimal. However, the beneficial effects of public debt vanish if transfers are used optimally.
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Suggested Citation

  • Martin Floden, 2000. "The Effectiveness of Government Debt and Transfers as Insurance," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1013, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1013
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    Cited by:

    1. Dieppe, Alistair & Mourinho Félix, Ricardo & Marchiori, Luca & Grech, Owen & Albani, Maria & Kulikov, Dmitry & Papadopoulou, Niki & Sideris, Dimitris & Irac, Delphine & Gordo Mora, Esther & Vogel, Edg, 2015. "Public debt, population ageing and medium-term growth," Occasional Paper Series 165, European Central Bank.
    2. Charles Grant & Christos Koulovatianos & Alexander Michaelides & Mario Padula, 2010. "Evidence on the Insurance Effect of Redistributive Taxation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 965-973, November.
    3. Maarten Janssen & Sandro Shelegia, 2012. "Consumer Search and Vertical Relations: The Triple Marginalization Problem," Vienna Economics Papers 1206, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    4. Martin Floden & Jesper Lindé, 2001. "Idiosyncratic Risk in the United States and Sweden: Is There a Role for Government Insurance?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 406-437, July.
    5. Miguel Viegas & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "Welfare-improving Government Behaviour and Inequality - Inspection Using a Heterogeneous-agent Model," CEF.UP Working Papers 1103, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    6. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten, 2005. "Insurance and Opportunities: The Welfare Implications of Rising Wage Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 107, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
    8. repec:ecb:ecbops:2014165 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. David Domeij & Paul Klein, 2002. "Private Pensions: To What Extent Do They Account for Swedish Wealth Inequality?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 503-534, July.
    10. Oh, Hyunseung & Reis, Ricardo, 2012. "Targeted transfers and the fiscal response to the great recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 50-64.
    11. 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.
    12. Grant, Charles & Koulovatianos, Christos & Michaelides, Alexander & Padula, Mario, 2008. "Evidence on the insurance effect of marginal income taxes," CFS Working Paper Series 2008/06, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    13. Paul Hiebert & Javier J. Pérez & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Debt reduction and automatic stabilisation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/12, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    14. Leandro Gonçalves do Nascimento, 2004. "Investment in Human Capital in a Macrodynamic Framework: Redistributive Taxation, Public Debt and Welfare," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 539, Econometric Society.
    15. Hiebert, Paul & Pérez, Javier J. & Rostagno, Massimo, 2009. "The trade-off between public debt reduction and automatic stabilisation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 464-472, March.
    16. 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.
    17. Miguel Viegas & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "Assessing welfare impacts of some debt-consolidation episodes in the European Union," CEF.UP Working Papers 1106, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

    More about this item

    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
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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