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New evidence on the interest rate effects of budget deficits and debt

  • Thomas Laubach

Estimating the effects of government debt and deficits on Treasury yields is complicated by the need to isolate the effects of fiscal policy from other influences. To abstract from the effects of the business cycle, and associated monetary policy actions, on debt, deficits, and interest rates, this paper studies the relationship between long-horizon expected government debt and deficits, measured by CBO and OMB projections, and expected future long-term interest rates. The estimated effects of government debt and deficits on interest rates are statistically and economically significant: a one percentage point increase in the projected deficit-to-GDP ratio is estimated to raise long-term interest rates by roughly 25 basis points. Under plausible assumptions these estimates are shown to be consistent with predictions of the neoclassical growth model.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2003-12.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-12
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  1. Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Government financing decisions and asset returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 325-352.
  2. Evans, Paul, 1987. "Interest Rates and Expected Future Budget Deficits in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 34-58, February.
  3. Douglas W. Elmendorf & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1998. "Government Debt," NBER Working Papers 6470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
  4. Plosser, Charles I., 1987. "Fiscal policy and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 343-367, September.
  5. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  6. Elmendorf, D.W., 1993. "Actual Budget Deficit Expectations and Interest Rates," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1639, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Sharon Kozicki & Peter A. Tinsley, 1997. "Shifting endpoints in the term structure of interest rates," Research Working Paper 97-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  8. Laurence Ball & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1990. "Inflation and Uncertainty at Long and Short Horizons," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 215-254.
  9. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2002. "Should the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve be concerned about fiscal policy?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 333-389.
  10. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Income Taxes, and the Rate of Interest: A Theoretical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 28-43 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Douglas W. Elmendorf, 1996. "The effects of deficit-reduction laws on real interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Kitchen, John, 1996. "Domestic and international financial market responses to Federal deficit announcements," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 239-254, April.
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