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A History of U.S. Debt Limits

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  • George J. Hall
  • Thomas J. Sargent

Abstract

Congress first imposed an aggregate debt limit in 1939 when it delegated decisions about designing US debt instruments to the Treasury. Before World War I, Congress designed each bond and specified a maximum amount of each bond that the Treasury could issue. It usually specified purposes for which proceeds could be spent. We construct and interpret a Federal debt limit before 1939.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Hall & Thomas J. Sargent, 2015. "A History of U.S. Debt Limits," NBER Working Papers 21799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21799
    Note: DAE EFG ME POL
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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