IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/11630.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Deficits and Debt in the Short and Long Run

Author

Listed:
  • Benjamin M. Friedman

Abstract

This paper begins by examining the persistence of movements in the U.S. Government%u2019s budget posture. Deficits display considerable persistence, and debt levels (relative to GDP) even more so. Further, the degree of persistence depends on what gives rise to budget deficits in the first place. Deficits resulting from shocks to defense spending exhibit the greatest persistence and those from shocks to nondefense spending the least; deficits resulting from shocks to revenues fall in the middle. The paper next reviews recent evidence on the impact of changes in government debt levels (again, relative to GDP) on interest rates. The recent literature, focusing on expected future debt levels and expected real interest rates, indicates impacts that are large in the context of actual movements in debt levels: for example, an increase of 94 basis points due to the rise in the debt-to-GDP ratio during 1981-93, and a decline of 65 basis point due to the decline in the debt-to-GDP ratio during 1993-2001. The paper next asks why deficits would exhibit the observed negative correlation with key elements of investment. One answer, following the analysis presented earlier, is that deficits are persistent and therefore lead to changes in expected future debt levels, which in turn affect real interest rates. A different reason, however, revolves around the need for markets to absorb the increased issuance of Government securities in a setting of costly portfolio adjustment. The paper concludes with some reflections on %u201Cthe Perverse Corollary of Stein%u2019s Law%u201D: that is, the view that in the presence of large government deficits nothing need be done because something will be done.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin M. Friedman, 2005. "Deficits and Debt in the Short and Long Run," NBER Working Papers 11630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11630
    Note: EFG ME PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11630.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Jordi Galí & J. David López-Salido & Javier Vallés, 2007. "Understanding the Effects of Government Spending on Consumption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 227-270, March.
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    5. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    6. Galí, Jordi & Vallés, Javier & Wolman, Alexander L., 2003. "Understanding the effects of government spending on consumption," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/23, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    7. Thomas Laubach, 2009. "New Evidence on the Interest Rate Effects of Budget Deficits and Debt," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 858-885, June.
    8. Seater, John J, 1993. "Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 142-190, March.
    9. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Human capital and capital market equilibrium," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 95-125, January.
    10. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 2002. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1329-1368.
    11. Eric M. Engen & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2005. "Federal Government Debt and Interest Rates," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 83-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. R. Glenn Hubbard & Eric M. Engen, 2004. "Federal Government Debt and Interest Rates," AEI Economics Working Papers 50018, American Enterprise Institute.
    13. Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Reifschneider, David L., 2002. "Short-Run Effects of Fiscal Policy With Forward-Looking Financial Markets," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 357-386, September.
    14. Poterba, James M., 1998. "The rate of return to corporate capital and factor shares: new estimates using revised national income accounts and capital stock data," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 211-246, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Paweł Borys & Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca, 2014. "Panel Data Evidence on the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks in the EU New Member States," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 35, pages 189-224, June.
    2. Chatzouz, Moustafa, 2014. "Government Debt and Wealth Inequality: Theory and Insights from Altruism," MPRA Paper 77007, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11630. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.