Public debt sustainability and endogenous seigniorage in Brazil: time-series evidence from 1947-92: revised version
Using national accounts data for the revenue-GDP and expenditureGDP ratios from 1947 to 1992, we examine three central issues in public finance. First, was the path of public debt sustainable during this period? Second, if debt is sustainable, how has the government historically balanced the budget after shocks to either revenues or expenditures? Third, are expenditures exogenous? The results show that (i) public deficit is stationary (bounded asymptotic variance), with the budget in Brazil being balanced almost entirely through changes in taxes, regardless of the cause of the initial imbalance. Expenditures are weakly exogenous, but tax revenues are not; (ii) the behavior of a rational Brazilian consumer may be consistent with Ricardian Equivalence; (iii) seigniorage revenues are critical to restore intertemporal budget equilibrium, since, when we exclude them from total revenues, debt is not sustainable in econometric tests.
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