IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Government Debt

  • Douglas W. Elmendorf
  • N. Gregory Mankiw

This paper surveys the literature on the macroeconomic effects of government debt. It begins by discussing the data on debt and deficits, including the historical time series, measurement issues, and projections of future fiscal policy. The paper then presents the conventional theory of government debt, which emphasizes aggregate demand in the short run and crowding out in the long run. It next examines the theoretical and empirical debate over the theory of debt neutrality called Ricardian equivalence. Finally, the paper considers the various normative perspectives about how the government should use its ability to borrow.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1820.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1820
Contact details of provider: Postal:
200 Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: 617-495-2144
Fax: 617-495-7730
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/journals/hier

More information through EDIRC

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.:

as in new window
  1. Kormendi, Roger C & Meguire, Philip G, 1995. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private-Sector Behavior: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1357-61, December.
  2. Evans, Paul, 1985. "Do Large Deficits Produce High Interest Rates?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 68-87, March.
  3. Seater, John J. & Mariano, Roberto S., 1985. "New tests of the life cycle and tax discounting hypotheses," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 195-215, March.
  4. Kessler, Denis & Masson, Andre, 1989. "Bequest and Wealth Accumulation: Are Some Pieces of the Puzzle Missing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 141-52, Summer.
  5. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, March.
  6. Andrew Abel & Gregory N. Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard Zeckhauser, . "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 14-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  7. Roger H. Gordon & A. Lans Bovenberg, 1994. "Why is Capital so Immobile Internationally?: Possible Explanations and Implications for Capital Income Taxation," NBER Working Papers 4796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  9. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  11. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "The Effective Tax Rate and the Pretax Rate of Return," NBER Working Papers 0740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kimball, Miles S. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1989. "Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes," Scholarly Articles 3443105, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Martin Feldstein, 1980. "Government Deficits and Aggregate Demand," NBER Working Papers 0435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Poterba, James M, 1988. "Are Consumers Forward Looking? Evidence from Fiscal Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 413-18, May.
  15. Dean Croushore, 1993. "Ricardian equivalence with wage-rate uncertainty," Working Papers 93-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  16. Feldstein, Martin & Elmendorf, Douglas W, 1990. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior Revisited: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 589-99, June.
  17. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-81, March.
  18. Barro, R. & Mankiw, G., 1992. "Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1615, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  19. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Cardia, Emanuela, 1997. "Replicating Ricardian Equivalence Tests with Simulated Series," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 65-79, March.
  21. Yotsuzuka, Toshiki, 1987. "Ricardian equivalence in the presence of capital market imperfections," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 411-436, September.
  22. Daniel, Betty C, 1993. "Tax Timing and Liquidity Constraints: A Heterogenous-Agent Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 176-96, May.
  23. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 5413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  26. Barsky, Robert B & Mankiw, N Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1986. "Ricardian Consumers with Keynesian Propensities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 676-91, September.
  27. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53540, November.
  28. Bernheim, B Douglas & Bagwell, Kyle, 1988. "Is Everything Neutral?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 308-38, April.
  29. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Philippe Weil, 1992. "Dynamic Efficiency, the Riskless Rate, and Debt Ponzi Games Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 3992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Dotsey, Michael, 1994. "Some unpleasant supply side arithmetic," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 507-524, June.
  31. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M.J., 1993. "Consumption over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Discussion Paper 1993-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  32. McCallum, Bennett T, 1984. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 123-35, February.
  33. Modigliani, Franco & Sterling, Arlie G, 1990. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior: A Further Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 600-603, June.
  34. repec:cdl:ucsbec:8-93 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
  36. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Trostel, Philip A., 1993. "The nonequivalence between deficits and distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 207-227, April.
  38. Ludvigson, Sydney, 1996. "The macroeconomic effects of government debt in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 25-45, August.
  39. Stephen Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 24-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  40. Romer, Christina D, 1989. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross National Product, 1869-1908," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 1-37, February.
  41. Martin Feldstein, 1984. "Debt and Taxes in the Theory of Public Finance," NBER Working Papers 1433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  43. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "How Big Should Government Be?," NBER Working Papers 5868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. David W. Wilcox, 1987. "Social security benefits, consumption expenditure, and the life cycle hypothesis," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 78, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  45. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  46. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 55-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  47. Laurence Ball & Douglas W. Elmendorf & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Deficit Gamble," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1710, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  48. Chan, Louis Kuo Chi, 1983. "Uncertainty and the neutrality of government financing policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 351-372.
  49. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "Government Spending, Interest Rates, Prices, and Budget Deficits in the United Kingdom, 1701-1918," NBER Working Papers 2005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. Hoelscher, Gregory, 1986. "New Evidence on Deficits and Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(1), pages 1-17, February.
  51. Blinder, Alan S. & Solow, Robert M., 1973. "Does fiscal policy matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 319-337.
  52. Modigliani, Franco & Sterling, Arlie, 1986. "Government Debt, Government Spending and Private Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1168-79, December.
  53. Graham, Fred C, 1995. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private-Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1348-56, December.
  54. Evans, Paul, 1986. "Is the dollar high because of large budget deficits?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 227-249, November.
  55. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  56. Seater, John J, 1993. "Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 142-90, March.
  57. Bovenberg, A.L. & Gordon, R.H., 1996. "Why is capital so immobile internationally? Possible explanation and implications for capital income taxation," Other publications TiSEM 6a131c21-fd9a-4d83-8d9a-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  58. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  59. Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Rational Ponzi Games," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 18-86, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    • O'Connell, Stephen A & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1988. "Rational Ponzi Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(3), pages 431-50, August.
  60. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
  61. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1992. "Learning from the Reagan Deficits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 299-304, May.
  62. Aschauer, David Alan, 1985. "Fiscal Policy and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 117-27, March.
  63. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 1993. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," NBER Working Papers 4344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  64. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  65. Jeffrey A. Rosensweig & Ellis W. Tallman, 1991. "Fiscal policy and trade adjustment: are the deficits really twins?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 91-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  66. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  67. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Finite Lifetimes and the Effects of Budget Deficits on National Savings," Working papers 434, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  68. 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.
  69. Rao Aiyagari, S. & Gertler, Mark, 1985. "The backing of government bonds and monetarism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 19-44, July.
  70. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1985. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1045-76, December.
  71. Evans, Paul, 1993. "Consumers Are Not Ricardian: Evidence from Nineteen Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 534-48, October.
  72. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  73. 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.
  74. Evans, Paul, 1987. "Do budget deficits raise nominal interest rates? : Evidence from six countries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 281-300, September.
  75. Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Government financing decisions and asset returns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 325-352.
  76. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
  77. Evans, Paul, 1988. "Are Consumers Ricardian? Evidence for the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 983-1004, October.
  78. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1992. "Learning From the Reagan Deficits," NBER Working Papers 4022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  79. Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-38, March.
  80. Kormendi, Roger C, 1983. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 994-1010, December.
  81. Wachtel, Paul & Young, John, 1987. "Deficit Announcements and Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1007-12, December.
  82. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
  83. Seater, John J., 1981. "The market value of outstanding government debt, 1919-1975," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 85-101.
  84. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  85. Boothe, Paul M. & Reid, Bradford G., 1989. "Asset returns and government budgets in a small open economy : Empirical evidence for Canada," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 65-77, January.
  86. Buchanan, James M, 1976. "Barro on the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 337-42, April.
  87. Graham, Fred C & Himarios, Daniel, 1991. "Fiscal Policy and Private Consumption: Instrumental Variables Tests of the "Consolidated Approach."," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(1), pages 53-67, February.
  88. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  89. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
  90. Judd, Kenneth, 1987. "Debt and distortionary taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-72, July.
  91. Barth, James R & Iden, George & Russek, Frank S, 1986. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1158-67, December.
  92. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
  93. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Perspectives on High World Real Interest Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 273-334.
  94. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, March.
  95. Butkiewicz, James L., 1983. "The market value of outstanding government debt : Comment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 373-379.
  96. Evans, Paul, 1991. "Is Ricardian Equivalence a Good Approximation?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(4), pages 626-44, October.
  97. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
  98. Kormendi, Roger C & Meguire, Philip, 1990. "Government Debt, Government Spending, and Private Sector Behavior: Reply and Update," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 604-17, June.
  99. W. G. Gale & J. K. Scholz, . "Intergenerational transfers and the accumulation of wealth," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1019-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  100. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  101. David Romer, 1988. "What are the Costs of Excessive Deficits?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 63-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  102. Deborah Roseveare & Willi Leibfritz & Douglas Fore & Eckhard Wurzel, 1996. "Ageing Populations, Pension Systems and Government Budgets: Simulations for 20 OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 168, OECD Publishing.
  103. Smetters, Kent, 1999. "Ricardian equivalence: long-run Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 395-421, September.
  104. Eisner, Robert & Pieper, Paul J, 1986. "A New View of the Federal Debt and Budget Deficits: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1156-57, December.
  105. Plosser, Charles I., 1987. "Fiscal policy and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 343-367, September.
  106. Runkle, David E., 1991. "Liquidity constraints and the permanent-income hypothesis : Evidence from panel data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-98, February.
  107. Graham, Fred C & Himarios, Daniel, 1996. "Consumption, Wealth, and Finite Horizons: Tests of Ricardian Equivalence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 527-44, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1820. 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: (Thomas Krichel)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.