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Optimal time-consistent government debt maturity

Author

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  • Davide Debortoli
  • Ricardo Nunes
  • Pierre Yared

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

  • Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 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

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    1. Optimal time-consistent government debt maturity
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2016-02-15 06:00:10

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    Cited by:

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    3. Laczó, Sarolta & Rossi, Raffaele, 2020. "Time-consistent consumption taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 194-220.
    4. Leeper, Eric M. & Leith, Campbell & Liu, Ding, 2021. "Optimal Time-Consistent Monetary, Fiscal and Debt Maturity Policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 600-617.
    5. Elisa Faraglia & Albert Marcet & Rigas Oikonomou & Andrew Scott, 2019. "Government Debt Management: The Long and the Short of It," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(6), pages 2554-2604.
    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. Boris Chafwehé & Rigas Oikonomou & Romanos Priftis & Lukas Vogel, 2021. "(Optimal) Monetary Policy with and without Debt," Staff Working Papers 21-5, Bank of Canada.
    8. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2018. "Optimal Fiscal Policy without Commitment: Beyond Lucas-Stokey," NBER Working Papers 24522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2021. "Optimal Fiscal Policy without Commitment: Revisiting Lucas-Stokey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(5), pages 1640-1665.
    10. Dottori, Davide & Manna, Michele, 2016. "Strategy and tactics in public debt management," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-25.
    11. 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.
    12. Leeper, E.M. & Leith, C., 2016. "Understanding Inflation as a Joint Monetary–Fiscal Phenomenon," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2305-2415, Elsevier.
    13. Beetsma, Roel & Giuliodori, Massimo & Hanson, Jesper & de Jong, Frank, 2021. "The maturity of sovereign debt issuance in the euro area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    14. 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.
    15. Pandow, Bilal, 2018. "International practices and situating public debt management in Oman," MPRA Paper 85651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2021. "The Commitment Benefit of Consols in Government Debt Management," Working Papers 1254, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    17. Flavia Corneli, 2018. "Sovereign debt maturity structure and its costs," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1196, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    18. Begoña Domínguez, 0. "Sustaining Ramsey plans with one-period bonds," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    19. Júlia Brunet & Susana Párraga, 2021. "Fiscal rebalancing plans in the medium term: the case of the United Kingdom," Economic Bulletin, Banco de España, issue 2/2021, pages 1-8.
    20. Eidam, Frederik, 2018. "Gap-filling government debt maturity choice," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-025, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    21. Joachim Jungherr & Immo Schott, . "Optimal Debt Maturity and Firm Investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    22. 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).
    23. Begoña Domínguez, 2020. "Sustaining Ramsey plans with one-period bonds," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 70(2), pages 387-410, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public debt; optimal taxation; fiscal policy;
    All these keywords.

    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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