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Real Effects of Budget Deficits? - Theory and Evidence


  • Becker, Torbjörn

    (Department of Economics)

  • Paalzow, Anders

    () (Department of Economics)


This paper investigates the real effects of debt or tax financing of a given level of government consumption. The paper starts with a survey of the theoretical literature, ranging from Ricardian to Keynesian models. The conclusion from the survey is that the real effects of budget deficits are ambiguous, in some cases private consumption increases, and in other it decreases. The second part of the paper provides an empirical study of Ricardian equivalence in Sweden. The methodological framework is a vector autoregressive model with long run restrictions implied by the public and private sectors' intertemporal budget constraints. The empirical analysis indicates that the Ricardian view of fiscal policy is more in line with the estimated model than the Keynesian view. A permanent change in public consumption crowds out private consumption, while a temporary change in taxes leaves private consumption more or less unchanged.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Torbjörn & Paalzow, Anders, 1997. "Real Effects of Budget Deficits? - Theory and Evidence," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 157, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0157

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    More about this item


    Public debt; private consumption; Ricardian equivalence; sustainability; cointegration;

    JEL classification:

    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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