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448. Public Debt and Redistribution with Borrowing Constraints
by Florin Bilbiie, Tommaso Monacelli and Roberto Perotti

In an economy with financial imperfections, Ricardian equivalence holds when prices are flexible and the steady-state distribution of consumption is uniform, or labor is inelastic. With different steady-state consumption levels, Ricardian equivalence fails, but tax cuts, somewhat paradoxically, are contractionary; the presentvalue multiplier on consumption is, however, zero. With sticky prices, Ricardian equivalence always fails. A Robin-Hood, revenue-neutral redistribution to borrowers is expansionary on aggregate activity. A uniform cut in taxes financed with public debt has a positive present-value multiplier on consumption, stemming from intertemporal substitution by the savers, who hold the public debt.

Last updated August 27, 2012