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Public versus private provision of liquidity: is there a trade-off?


Röhrs, Sigrid; Winter, Christoph (2015). Public versus private provision of liquidity: is there a trade-off? Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 53:314-339.

Abstract

To what extent is public debt private liquidity? Much policy advice given in the aftermath of the financial crisis rests on the assumption that increasing public debt relaxes borrowing constraints of private households. This is the case for ad-hoc debt limits, which are exogenous to public policy. Instead, if debt limits are fully endogenous, as e.g. in the case of the natural borrowing limit, public debt has no impact. We assume that borrowing limits arise because of limited contract enforceability and are therefore determined as equilibrium outcomes. Using an incomplete markets economy in which households are subject to uninsurable earnings shocks, we show that public debt provides some liquidity, but less so than it would if constraints were imposed ad-hoc. We show that generating borrowing constraints as an equilibrium outcome substantially alters the answers to other important questions, such as for the welfare effects of government debt or its impact on real economic activity.

Abstract

To what extent is public debt private liquidity? Much policy advice given in the aftermath of the financial crisis rests on the assumption that increasing public debt relaxes borrowing constraints of private households. This is the case for ad-hoc debt limits, which are exogenous to public policy. Instead, if debt limits are fully endogenous, as e.g. in the case of the natural borrowing limit, public debt has no impact. We assume that borrowing limits arise because of limited contract enforceability and are therefore determined as equilibrium outcomes. Using an incomplete markets economy in which households are subject to uninsurable earnings shocks, we show that public debt provides some liquidity, but less so than it would if constraints were imposed ad-hoc. We show that generating borrowing constraints as an equilibrium outcome substantially alters the answers to other important questions, such as for the welfare effects of government debt or its impact on real economic activity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:1 April 2015
Deposited On:16 Mar 2015 10:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:10
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0165-1889
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jedc.2015.02.013

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