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The Political Power of the Owners of Public Debt

  • Di Gioacchino, Debora


  • Ginebri, Sergio
  • Sabani, Laura

We develop a two period model to investigate what makes the promise to repay public debt credible. We explor a political solution excluding any role for long-run reputational arguments. There are two sources of heterogeneity among individuals: wealth and income. Differences in asset holdings determine individuals’ preferences over monetary policy; differences in incomes determine individuals’ preferences over fiscal policy. The bi-dimensionality of the political choice plays a fundamental role. We show, in fact, that political outcomes on the dimension perceived as less relevant might be decided by minority groups. In this sense, the very fact of issuing public debt creates a constituency in favour of repaying it and, under certain conditions, this constituency might be winning even though it is a minority group.

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Paper provided by University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI in its series Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers with number esdp03006.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mol:ecsdps:esdp03006
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  1. Debora Di Gioacchino & Sergio Ginebri & Laura Sabani, 2004. "Political support for anti-inflationary monetary policy," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 187-200.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2001. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' initiatives," CEPR Discussion Papers 2857, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
  4. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 2000. "Political Power and the Credibility of Government Debt," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 80-105, September.
  5. Guido Tabellini, 1989. "The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 3058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  7. Di Gioacchino, Debora & Ginebri, Sergio & Sabani, Laura, 2000. " Bribery and Public Debt Repudiation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(3-4), pages 303-21, December.
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