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Debt in the U.S. Economy

Author

Listed:
  • Kaiji Chenz

    (Department of Economics, Emory University, Atlanta)

  • Ayse Imrohoroglu

    () (Department of Finance and Business Economics, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California)

Abstract

In 2011, the publicly held debt-to-GDP ratio in the United States reached 68% and is expected to continue rising. Many proposals to curb the government deficit and the resulting debt are being discussed. In this paper, we use the standard neoclassical growth model to examine the future path of output, budget deficits, and debt in the U.S. economy under different tax policies. While this framework is relatively simple, it incorporates the general equilibrium effects of tax policy, which are often missing from the Congressional Budget Office projections. Our results show that debt-to-GNP ratios above 100% are likely to continue into the future and that even small labor supply elasticities have a significant impact on these projections. We also find that labor income tax rates higher than 40% are needed for the deficit-to-GNP ratio to return to its historical level in the long run. Such high tax rates, however, result in about 10% lower per capita GNP and large welfare costs at the steady state compared to the historical tax rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaiji Chenz & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2014. "Debt in the U.S. Economy," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1401, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1401
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sheng-Ti Hung & Kevin X.D. Huang & Hui He, 2013. "Substituting Leisure for Health Expenditure: A General Equilibrium-Based Empirical Investigation," 2013 Meeting Papers 1310, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Holter, Hans A. & Krueger, Dirk & Stepanchuk, Serhiy, 2014. "How does tax progressivity and household heterogeneity affect Laffer curves?," CFS Working Paper Series 490, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    3. Bagchi, Shantanu, 2016. "Is The Social Security Crisis Really As Bad As We Think?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(03), pages 737-776, April.
    4. Röhrs, Sigrid & Winter, Christoph, 2017. "Reducing government debt in the presence of inequality," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-20.
    5. Murat Üngör, 2014. "Average effective tax rates on consumption for Turkey: New data and a comparative analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 567-580.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax distortion; Dynamic Laffer Curve; Debt-to-GNP Ratio.;

    JEL classification:

    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

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