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Budget Deficits, Tax Rules, and real Interest Rates

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  • Martin Feldstein

Abstract

This paper examines three sources of the fluctuations in real interest rates during the past three decades: changes in budget deficits, changes in tax rules, and changes in monetary policy. The evidence indicates that budget deficits and monetary policy have had a strong influence on the level of long-term interest rates but fails to identify any effect of changes in corporate tax rates and investment incentives. The analysis shows that it is projected future budget deficits rather than the current level of the actual or structural deficit that influence long-term interest rates. Each percentage point increase in the five-year projected ratio of budget deficits to GNP raises the long-term government bond rate by approximately 1.2 percentage points while the ratio of the current deficit to GNP (either actual or structural) has no significa effect. The specific parameter estimates imply that the increase in projected budget deficits was responsible for about two-thirds of the rise in the interest rates between 1977-78 and 1983-84.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein, 1986. "Budget Deficits, Tax Rules, and real Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 1970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1970
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    3. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1983. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and the Long-term Interest Rate," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 153-185 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Income Taxes, and the Rate of Interest: A Theoretical Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 28-43 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Evans, Paul, 1985. "Do Large Deficits Produce High Interest Rates?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 68-87, March.
    8. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld83-2, June.
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    11. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
    12. Boskin, Michael J. & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 1985. "Public debt and United States saving: A new test of the neutrality hypothesis," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 55-86, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Laubach, 2011. "Fiscal Policy and Interest Rates: The Role of Sovereign Default Risk," NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 7-30.
    2. Manmohan S. Kumar & Emanuele Baldacci, 2010. "Fiscal Deficits, Public Debt, and Sovereign Bond Yields," IMF Working Papers 10/184, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Andrea Terzi, 2007. "WP 2007-4 Fiscal deficits in the U.S. and Europe: Revisiting the link with interest rates," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2007-4, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
    4. Panagiotis Petrakis & Emmanuel Papadakis & Nikoleta Daniilopoulou, 2012. "Public Statements on Sovereign Yield Spreads:The Greek Case," Cyprus Economic Policy Review, University of Cyprus, Economics Research Centre, vol. 6(2), pages 5-16, December.
    5. Martin S. Feldstein, 1986. "The Budget Deficit and the Dollar," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 355-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Basil Dalamagas & Stefanos Tantos, 2016. "Optimal Versus Actual Maturity of Government Debt: The Case of Greece," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 66(3), pages 25-52, July-Sept.
    7. Stephanie Kelton, 2011. "Limitations of the Government Budget Constraint: Users vs. Issuers of the Currency," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 58(1), pages 57-66, March.
    8. repec:bla:ausecp:v:56:y:2017:i:2:p:95-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. Gale, William G. & Orszag, Peter R., 2003. "Economic Effects of Sustained Budget Deficits," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 56(3), pages 463-485, September.
    11. Naeem Akram, 2013. "Empirical examination of debt and growth nexus in South Asian countries," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 20(2), pages 29-52, December.
    12. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Saburo Okita & Peter G. Peterson & James R. Schlesinger, 1988. "International Capital Flows and Domestic Economic Policies," NBER Chapters,in: The United States in the World Economy, pages 559-658 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Martin Feldstein & Joosung Jun, 1987. "The Effects of Tax Rules on Nonresidential Fixed Investment: Some Preliminary Evidence from the 1980s," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 101-162 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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