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Unexpected Consequences of Ricardian Expectations

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  • Schlicht, Ekkehart

Abstract

Economists are widely familiar with the Ricardian equivalence thesis. It maintains that, given the time-path of government spending, a change in taxation does not alter the set of feasible life-time consumption plans of the households and affects neither the demand for commodities and services nor the rate of interest, provided the households act rationally. In this note a surprising finding is established. Assuming that the agents in a standard infinite horizon growth model hold the very expectations the thesis proposes (“Ricardian expectations”), it is shown that these expectations are disappointed. This divergence from the Ricardian equivalence thesis is traced to the omission of interest payments on public debt as part of the households' disposable income. The non-equivalence is valid in a wide class of models. Further it is shown that a permanent deficit policy does not imply a violation of the government's budget constraint at any point of time in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Schlicht, Ekkehart, 2012. "Unexpected Consequences of Ricardian Expectations," Discussion Papers in Economics 13794, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:13794
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barro, Robert J, 1989. "The Ricardian Approach to Budget Deficits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 37-54, Spring.
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    4. Wynne Goldey & Marc Lavoie, 2007. "Fiscal policy in a stock-flow consistent (SFC) model," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 79-100.
    5. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 2012. "A Case Where Barro Expectations Are Not Rational," Discussion Papers in Economics 12715, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. Ekkehart Schlicht, 2006. "Public Debt As Private Wealth: Some Equilibrium Considerations," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 494-520, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Bagwell, Kyle, 1988. "Is Everything Neutral?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 308-338, April.
    9. Evans, Paul, 1985. "Do Large Deficits Produce High Interest Rates?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 68-87, March.
    10. Cosimo Magazzino, 2012. "Fiscal Policy, Consumption and Current Account in the European Countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1330-1344.
    11. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 2004. "Public Debt as Private Wealth," Discussion Papers in Economics 371, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    12. Buchanan, James M, 1976. "Barro on the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 337-342, April.
    13. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Perceived Wealth in Bonds and Social Security: A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 331-336, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ekkehart Schlicht, 2013. "Unexpected Consequences of Ricardian Expectations," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 498-512, July.
    2. Ekkehart Schlicht, 2014. "Unexpected Consequences of Ricardian Expectations—Erratum," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 191-194, February.
    3. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 2012. "A case where Barro expectations are not rational," Economics Discussion Papers 2012-13, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Wolfgang Kuhle, 2014. "The Optimal Structure for Public Debt," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 321-348, May.
    5. repec:lmu:muenar:14673 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Barro-Ricardo equivalence; Ricardian equivalence; fiscal policy; debt; taxation; rational expectations; Ricardian expectations; Barro expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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