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Fiscal Stability of High-Debt Nations under Volatile Economic Conditions

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  • Robert E. Hall

Abstract

Using a recursive empirical model of the real interest rate, GDP growth, and the primary government deficit in the U.S., I solve for the ergodic distribution of the debt/GDP ratio. If such a distribution exists, the government is satisfying its intertemporal budget constraint. One key finding is that historical fiscal policy would bring the current high debt ratio back to its normal level of 0.35 over the coming decade. Forecasts of continuing increases in the ratio over the decade make the implicit assumption that fiscal policy has shifted dramatically. In the variant of the model that matches the forecast, the government would not satisfy its intertemporal budget constraint if the policy was permanent. The willingness of investors to hold U.S. government debt implies a belief that the high-deficit policy is transitory.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Hall, 2013. "Fiscal Stability of High-Debt Nations under Volatile Economic Conditions," NBER Working Papers 18797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18797
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Woodford, Michael, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 669-728, August.
    2. Bohn, Henning, 1995. "The Sustainability of Budget Deficits in a Stochastic Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 257-271, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sang Hyeon Lee & Doo Bong Han & Vincenzina Caputo & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2015. "Consumers’ Valuation for a Reduced Salt Product: A Nonhypothetical Choice Experiment," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 63(4), pages 563-582, December.
    2. Maximilian Goedl & Christoph Zwick, 2015. "Stochastic Stability of Public Debt: The Case of Austria," Graz Economics Papers 2015-02, University of Graz, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C58 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Financial Econometrics
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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