IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

What Has Financed Government Debt?

  • Hess Chung
  • Eric M. Leeper

Dynamic rational expectations models imply that the real value of debt in the hands of the public must be equal to the expected present-value of surpluses. We impose this equilibrium condition on an identified VAR and characterize the way in which the present-value support of debt varies across various types of fiscal policy shocks and between fiscal and non-fiscal shocks. The role of expected primary surpluses in supporting innovations to debt depends on the nature of the shock. For some fiscal policy shocks, debt is supported almost entirely by changes in the present-value of surpluses, however, in the case of other fiscal policy shocks, surpluses fail to adjust and instead leave a large role for expected changes in discount rates. Horizons over which debt innovations are financed are long - on the order of fifty years - while present-values calculated up to any finite horizon up to then fluctuate wildly, particularly following government spending and transfer shocks.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13425.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13425
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2007. "Debt and the Effects of Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 6092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Troy Davig, 2005. "Periodically expanding discounted debt: a threat to fiscal policy sustainability?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(7), pages 829-840.
  4. Mountford, Andrew & Uhlig, Harald, 2002. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "A, B, C’s (And D’s) For Understanding VARS," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-018, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Sims, Christopher A., 1998. "Econometric implications of the government budget constraint," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 9-19.
  7. Lutz Kilian, 1998. "Small-Sample Confidence Intervals For Impulse Response Functions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 218-230, May.
  8. Canova, Fabio & Pappa, Evi, 2003. "Price Dispersions in Monetary Unions: The Role of Fiscal Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 3746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Chryssi Giannitsarou & Andrew Scott, 2006. "Inflation Implications of Rising Government Debt," NBER Working Papers 12654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Fluctuating Macro Policies and the Fiscal Theory," NBER Working Papers 11212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Blinder, Alan S, 1981. "Temporary Income Taxes and Consumer Spending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 26-53, February.
  14. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Dario Caldara & Christophe Kamps, 2006. "What Do We Know About the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks? A Comparative Analysis," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 257, Society for Computational Economics.
  16. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  17. Roberto Perotti, 2005. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  18. James D. Hamilton & Marjorie A. Flavin, 1985. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for Empirical Testing," NBER Working Papers 1632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Susan Yang, Shu-Chun, 2005. "Quantifying tax effects under policy foresight," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1557-1568, November.
  20. Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1994. "VAR analysis, nonfundamental representations, blaschke matrices," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 307-325, July.
  21. Carlo Favero & Tommaso Monacelli, 2005. "Fiscal Policy Rules and Regime (In)Stability: Evidence from the U.S," Working Papers 282, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  22. Eric M. Leeper, 1989. "Policy rules, information and fiscal effects in a "Ricardian" model," International Finance Discussion Papers 360, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Roland Straub & Günter Coenen, 2005. "Non-Ricardian Households and Fiscal Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model of the Euro Area," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 102, Society for Computational Economics.
  24. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13425. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.