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The Political Economy of the Budget Surplus in the U.S

  • Alberto Alesina

Current surpluses in the U.S. have been achieved by a combination of a strong economy, low interest rates, and sharp cuts in defence spending. These surpluses follow a period (the eighties) of rather exceptional budget deficits. This paper investigates the origin, size, and expected future patterns of the U.S. budget balance. It discusses how different political forces may generate alternative fiscal scenarios for the U.S. in the next decade.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7496.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as "The Political Economy of Fiscal Adjustments", Brookings Paper, Vol. 28, no. 1 (1998): 197-248.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7496
Note: PE
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  1. Auerbach, Alan J., 1997. "Quantifying the Current U.S. Fiscal Imbalance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(3), pages 387-98, September.
  2. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Peter A. Diamond (ed.), 1999. "Issues in Privatizing Social Security: Report of an Expert Panel of the National Academy of Social Insurance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262041774, June.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
  5. 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..
  6. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
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