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Debt and deficit fluctuations and the structure of bond markets
Marcet, Albert; Scott, Andrew
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
This paper tests for the market environment within which US fiscal policyoperates, that is we test for the incompleteness of the US government bondmarket. We document the stochastic properties of US debt and deficits andthen consider the ability of competing optimal tax models to account forthis behaviour. We show that when a government pursues an optimal taxpolicy and issues a full set of contingent claims, the value of debthas the same or less persistence than other variables in the economyand declines in response to higher deficit shocks. By contrast, ifgovernments only issue one-period risk free bonds (incomplete markets),debt shows more persistence than other variables and it increases inresponse to expenditure shocks. Maintaining the hypothesis of Ramseybehavior, US data conflicts.
Macroeconomics and International Economics
optimal fiscal policy
complete vs incomlete markets
tax smoothing
government debt
persistence of debt
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