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: 90 Hennepin Avenue, P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291|
Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/|
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.:
- Barro, Robert J., 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Mehrling, Perry, 1995. "A note on the optimum quantity of money," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 249-258.
- 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.
- Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
- S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Macroeconomics with frictions," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 24-40.
- Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
- Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
- S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993.
"Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving,"
502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
- 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.
- Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990.
"The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard,"
21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
- 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.
- 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.
- Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Public Debt as Private Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-88, May.
- Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1999.
"The Welfare Effects of Liquidity Constraints,"
Oxford Economic Papers,
Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 410-30, July.
- Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "The Welfare Effects of Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 1108, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1998. "The Welfare Effects of Liquidity Constraints," CSEF Working Papers 13, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
- Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine & Michael Woodford, 1990.
"The optimum quantity of money revisited,"
404, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- 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 J. Fitzgerald & Fernando Alvarez, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Staff Report 153, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
- 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.
- Bewley, Truman, 1983.
"A Difficulty with the Optimum Quantity of Money,"
Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1485-504, September.
- 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.
- 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.
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: (Jannelle Ruswick)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.