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Finite Lifetimes and the Crowding Out Effects of Budget Deficits

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  • James M. Poterba
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This note explores the sensitivity of the short-run savings effects of government deficits to assumptions about household planning horizons. Using a lifecycle simulation model, we show that even though deficit policies shift sizable tax burdens to future generations, individuals live long enough to make the assumption of an infinite horizon a good approximation for analyzing the short-run savings effects. In practice, periods of debt accumulation such as that in the United States during World War II are reversed sufficiently rapidly to make their short-run effects on consumption and national savings relatively small.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Finite Lifetimes and the Crowding Out Effects of Budget Deficits," NBER Working Papers 1955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1955
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1955.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Barsky, Robert B & Mankiw, N Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1986. "Ricardian Consumers with Keynesian Propensities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 676-691, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leiderman, Leonardo & Razin, Assaf, 1988. "Testing Ricardian Neutrality with an Intertemporal Stochastic Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 1-21, February.

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