The optimum quantity of debt
We find that the welfare gains to being at the optimum quantity of debt rather than the current U.S. level are small, and, therefore, concerns regarding the high level of debt in the U.S. economy may be misplaced. This finding is based on a model of a large number of infinitely-lived households whose saving behavior is influenced by precautionary saving motives and borrowing constraints. This model incorporates a different role for government debt than is found in standard models, and it captures different cost-benefit trade-offs. On the benefit side, government debt enhances the liquidity of households by providing an additional means of smoothing consumption and by effectively loosening borrowing constraints. On the cost side, the implied taxes have adverse wealth distribution and incentive effects. In addition, government debt crowds out capital via higher interest rates and lowers per capita consumption.
|Date of creation:||1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Journal of Monetary Economics (Vol. 42, No. 3, December 1998, pp. 447-469)|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/ Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary D. Hansen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 1990.
"The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
583, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-42, February.
- Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
- Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
- Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Public Debt as Private Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-88, May.
- S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993.
"Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving,"
502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1995.
"The Welfare Effects of Liquidity Constraints,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1108, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Diaz-Gimenez, Javier & Prescott, Edward C. & Fitzgerald, Terry & Alvarez, Fernando, 1992.
"Banking in computable general equilibrium economies,"
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control,
Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 533-559.
- Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Edward C. Prescott & Terry Fitzgerald & Fernando Alvarez, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Staff Report 153, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1985. "Efficient Taxation in a Stylized Model of Intertemporal General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 451-68, June.
- Barro, Robert J, 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
- Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
- Ellen R. McGrattan, 1993.
"Solving the stochastic growth model with a finite element method,"
164, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- McGrattan, Ellen R., 1996. "Solving the stochastic growth model with a finite element method," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-3), pages 19-42.
- Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
- Laitner, John P, 1979. "Bequests, Golden-age Capital Accumulation and Government Debt," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(184), pages 403-14, November.
- S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Macroeconomics with frictions," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 24-40.
- Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine & Michael Woodford, 1990.
"The optimum quantity of money revisited,"
404, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
- Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The welfare cost of inflation under imperfect insurance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 79-91, January.
- Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-32, September.
- Mehrling, Perry, 1995. "A note on the optimum quantity of money," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 249-258.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
- Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
- Bewley, Truman, 1983.
"A Difficulty with the Optimum Quantity of Money,"
Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1485-504, September.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:203. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Janelle Ruswick)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.