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Fiscal Sustainability; A 21st Century Guide for the Perplexed

  • Evan C Tanner
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    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
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/89
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    1. Frederick Van der Ploeg & Anthony J. Venables, 2009. "Harnessing Windfall Revenues: Optimal Policies for Resource-Rich Developing Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 2571, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. 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.
    3. Evan C Tanner & Alberto M. Ramos, 2002. "Fiscal Sustainability and Monetary Versus Fiscal Dominance; Evidence From Brazil, 1991-2000," IMF Working Papers 02/5, International Monetary Fund.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8607 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gabriel Talmain, . "An Analytical Approximate Solution to the Problem of Precautionary Savings," Discussion Papers 98/4, Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Olivier J. Blanchard & Philippe Weil, 2001. "Dynamic Efficiency, the Riskless Rate, and Debt Ponzi Games under Uncertainty," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8607, Sciences Po.
    8. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 4490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ley, Eduardo, 2009. "Fiscal (and external) sustainability," MPRA Paper 13693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Jorge Restrepo & Carlos Garcia & Evan C Tanner, 2011. "Fiscal Rules in a Volatile World; A Welfare-Based Approach," IMF Working Papers 11/56, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    16. 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.
    17. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Atish R. Ghosh & Jun I. Kim & Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry & Mahvash S. Qureshi, 2011. "Fiscal Fatigue, Fiscal Space and Debt Sustainability in Advanced Economies," NBER Working Papers 16782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. 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.
    22. 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.
    23. 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.
    24. 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.
    25. 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.
    26. Michael Kumhof & Evan C Tanner, 2005. "Government Debt; A Key Role in Financial Intermediation," IMF Working Papers 05/57, International Monetary Fund.
    27. 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 923-36, December.
    28. Evan C Tanner & Kevin J Carey, 2005. "The Perils of Tax Smoothing; Sustainable Fiscal Policy with Random Shocks to Permanent Output," IMF Working Papers 05/207, International Monetary Fund.
    29. 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.
    30. Kingston, G., 1989. "Should Marginal Tax Rates Be Equalized Through Time?," Papers 89-8, New South Wales - School of Economics.
    31. 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.
    32. 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.
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