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Optimal time-consistent government debt maturity

Author

Listed:
  • Debortoli, Davide

    () (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Nunes, Ricardo

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

  • Yared, Pierre

    () (Columbia University)

Abstract

The current literature on a government's optimal debt maturity structure contends that by purchasing short-term assets and selling long-term debt, it is possible to fully insulate the economy against fiscal shocks. The required short and long positions are large relative to GDP and constant. The market value of debt adjusts automatically and the constant debt positions and fluctuating bond prices insulate against potential shocks. However, achieving the goal of averting future shocks depends on the government perfectly committing to the future fiscal policy, for without this sustained commitment, the large debt positions required to insure against future spending shocks are extremely expensive to service; moreover, the government faces a tradeoff between using the debt maturity structure to service its debt obligations and using it to protect against economic shocks. As the authors point out, in practice a government chooses tax, spending, and debt levels sequentially in each period, taking into account its outstanding debt portfolio and anticipating the behavior of future governments. The paper develops an alternative model of optimal debt maturity that solves the problem of a government's lack of commitment.

Suggested Citation

  • Debortoli, Davide & Nunes, Ricardo & Yared, Pierre, 2016. "Optimal time-consistent government debt maturity," Working Papers 16-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:16-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fernández, Raquel & Martin, Alberto, 2014. "The Long and the Short of It: Sovereign Debt Crises and Debt Maturity," CEPR Discussion Papers 10322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Tiago Berriel & Rodrigo Abreu, 2015. "Long Term Debt and Credit Crisis in a Liquidity Constrained Economy," Textos para discussão 644, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    3. Dottori, Davide & Manna, Michele, 2016. "Strategy and tactics in public debt management," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-25.
    4. Faraglia, Elisa & Marcet, Albert & Oikonomou, Rigas & Scott, Andrew, 2014. "Government Debt Management: The Long and the Short of It," CEPR Discussion Papers 10281, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Brendon, Charles & Ellison, Martin, 2018. "Time-consistently undominated policies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87176, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Elisa Faraglia & Albert Marcet & Rigas Oikonomou & Andrew Scott, 2014. "Government Debt Management: The Long and the Short of It (Plus Appendix)," Working Papers 799, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2305 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Pandow, Bilal, 2018. "International practices and situating public debt management in Oman," MPRA Paper 85651, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public debt; optimal taxation; fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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