The Effects of Fiscal Policies When Incomes are Uncertain: A Contradiction to Ricardian Equivalence
This paper shows that when earnings are uncertain the substitution of deficit finance for tax finance or the introduction of an unfunded social security program will raise consumption even if all bequests reflect intergenerational altruism. Thus, contrary to the theory developed by Barro and a number of subsequent writers, an operative bequest motive need not imply Ricardian equivalence. Since there is no uncertainty in the present analysis about the date of each individual's death, this conclusion does not depend on imperfections in annuity markets. Nor does it depend on the existence of non-lump-sum taxes and other distortions. Rather it follows from the result derived in the paper that, when an individuals future earnings are uncertain, his future bequest is also uncertain and his consumption therefore rises more in response to an increase in his current disposable income than to an equal present value increase in the disposable income of his potential heirs.
|Date of creation:||Nov 1986|
|Publication status:||published as From The American Economic Review, Vol. 78, No. 1, pp. 14-23, (March 1988).|
|Note:||EFG ME PE|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980.
"The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation,"
NBER Working Papers
0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
- Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972.
"Consumption decisions under uncertainty,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Bequests as a Means of Payment," NBER Working Papers 1303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, Robert J., 1974.
"Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?,"
3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- O'Driscoll, Gerald P, Jr, 1977. "The Ricardian Nonequivalence Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 207-210, February.
- Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-791, September.
- A. Sandmo, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 353-360.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979.
"The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
151, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Robert B. Barsky & N. Gregory Mankiw & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1984.
"Ricardian Consumers With Keynesian Propensities,"
NBER Working Papers
1400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zvi Eckstein & Martin S. Eichenbaum & Dan Peled, 1985. "The Distribution of Wealth and Welfare in the Presence of Incomplete Annuity Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(3), pages 789-806.
- Martin Feldstein, 1980.
"Government Deficits and Aggregate Demand,"
NBER Working Papers
0435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2062. 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.