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Governmental debt, interest policy, and tax stabilization in a stochastic OLG economy


  • Hillebrand, Marten


The paper analyzes the sustainability of governmental debt and its welfare properties in an overlapping generations economy with stochastic production and capital accumulation. In the absence of taxation, equilibria with positive debt generically converge to debtless eauilibria are typically inefficient. It is shown that this may be overcome by a tax on labor income which stabilizes the level of debt against unfavorable shocks. A long-run welfare criterion is formulated which measures consumer utility at the stabilized equlibrium. Based on this criterion, the welfare effects of different interest policies and alternative stabilization objectives are investigated. The results offer a simple explanation why empirical debt levels are high and typically yield a riskless return despite both fails to be optimal in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Hillebrand, Marten, 2011. "Governmental debt, interest policy, and tax stabilization in a stochastic OLG economy," Working Paper Series in Economics 14, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kitwps:14

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    OLG; governmental debt; interest policy; risk sharing; tax stabilization; stabilized equilibrium; long-run welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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