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Investment Cycles and Sovereign Debt Overhang

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  • Aguiar, Mark
  • Amador, Manuel
  • Gopinath, Gita

Abstract

We characterize optimal taxation of foreign capital and optimal sovereign debt policy in a small open economy where the government cannot commit to policy, seeks to insure a risk averse domestic constituency, and is more impatient than the market. Optimal policy generates long-run cycles in both sovereign debt and foreign direct investment in an environment in which the first best capital stock is a constant. The expected tax on capital endogenously varies with the state of the economy and in- vestment is distorted by more in recessions than in booms amplifying the effect of shocks. The government’s lack of commitment induces a negative correlation between investment and the stock of government debt, a "debt overhang" effect. Debt relief is never Pareto improving and cannot affect the long-run level of investment. Further, restricting the government to a balanced budget can eliminate the cyclical distortion of investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Aguiar, Mark & Amador, Manuel & Gopinath, Gita, 2008. "Investment Cycles and Sovereign Debt Overhang," Scholarly Articles 11988004, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:11988004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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