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Fiscal Sustainability; A 21st Century Guide for the Perplexed

Listed author(s):
  • Evan C Tanner

This paper critically reviews recent work regarding the sustainability of public debt. It argues that Debt Sustainability Analyses (DSAs) should be more than mere mechanical simulation exercises. Instead, a DSA should be linked to some objective regarding the distribution of fiscal burdens and distortions over time (in the tradition of Barro’s 1979 tax smoothing objective). The paper discusses objective functions that yield simple and transparent fiscal policy rules.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/89.

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Length: 49
Date of creation: 22 Apr 2013
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/89
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  1. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
  2. Frederick van der Ploeg & Anthony J. Venables, 2011. "Harnessing Windfall Revenues: Optimal Policies for Resource‐Rich Developing Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 1-30, March.
  3. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  4. Woodford, Michael, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 669-728, August.
  5. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Kent Smetters, 2003. "Fiscal and generational imbalances: new budget measures for new budget priorities," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Dec.
  6. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1989. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
  7. Geoffrey Kingston, 1991. "Should Marginal Tax Rates be Equalized Through Time?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 911-924.
  8. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1994. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 617-652, August.
  9. Dale F. Gray & Elena Loukoianova & Samuel W. Malone & Cheng Hoon Lim, 2008. "A Risk-Based Debt Sustainability Framework; Incorporating Balance Sheets and Uncertainty," IMF Working Papers 08/40, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Blanchard Olivier & Weil Philippe, 2001. "Dynamic Efficiency, the Riskless Rate, and Debt Ponzi Games under Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-23, November.
  11. Atish R. Ghosh & Jun I. Kim & Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry & Mahvash S. Qureshi, 2013. "Fiscal Fatigue, Fiscal Space and Debt Sustainability in Advanced Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 4-30, 02.
  12. Michael Kumhof & Evan C Tanner, 2005. "Government Debt; A Key Role in Financial Intermediation," IMF Working Papers 05/57, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
  14. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1994. "Generational Accounting: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 73-94, Winter.
  15. Boskin, Michael J, et al, 1985. "New Estimates of the Value of Federal Mineral Rights and Land," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 923-936, December.
  16. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
  17. Enrique G. Mendoza & P. Marcelo Oviedo, 2006. "Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Developing Countries: The Tale of the Tormented Insurer," NBER Working Papers 12586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  19. Aaron Drew & Ben Hunt, 1998. "The Forecasting and Policy System: stochastic simulations of the core model," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G98/6, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  20. Evan Tanner & Alberto Ramos, 2003. "Fiscal sustainability and monetary versus fiscal dominance: evidence from Brazil, 1991-2000," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(7), pages 859-873.
  21. Lloyd-Ellis, Huw & Zhan, Shiqiang & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2005. "Tax Smoothing with Stochastic Interest Rates: A Reassessment of Clinton's Fiscal Legacy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(4), pages 699-724, August.
  22. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
  23. Kingston, G., 1989. "Should Marginal Tax Rates Be Equalized Through Time?," Papers 89-8, New South Wales - School of Economics.
  24. Garcia, Carlos J. & Restrepo, Jorge E. & Tanner, Evan, 2011. "Fiscal rules in a volatile world: A welfare-based approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 649-676, July.
  25. McCallum, Bennett T, 1984. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 123-135, February.
  26. Evan Tanner & Issouf Samake, 2008. "Probabilistic Sustainability of Public Debt: A Vector Autoregression Approach for Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(1), pages 149-182, April.
  27. Evan Tanner & Kevin Carey, 2008. "The Perils of Tax Smoothing: Sustainable Fiscal Policy with Random Shocks to Permanent Output," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 58(11-12), pages 502-524, December.
  28. Gabriel Talmain, "undated". "An Analytical Approximate Solution to the Problem of Precautionary Savings," Discussion Papers 98/4, Department of Economics, University of York.
  29. Ley, Eduardo, 2009. "Fiscal (and external) sustainability," MPRA Paper 13693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  30. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8607 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. 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 1156-1157, December.
  32. Nathaniel Frank & Eduardo Ley, 2009. "On the Probabilistic Approach to Fiscal Sustainability: Structural Breaks and Non-Normality," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(4), pages 742-757, November.
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