Angeletos, G. M., "Can Deficits Finance Themselves?"
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Title: "Can Deficits Finance Themselves?"
Speaker: Professor George-Marios Angeletos, Northwestern University & NBER
Host: Professor Evangelos Vassilatos, Head of the Department of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business
Time: 15.30 -17.00
Attachments: PDF of Relevant Paper
Abstact: We study how fiscal deficits are financed in environments with two key features: (i) nominal rigidity and (ii) a violation of Ricardian equivalence due to finite lives or liquidity constraints. In such environments, deficits contribute to their own financing via two channels: a boom in real economic activity, which expands the tax base, and a surge in inflation, which erodes the real value of nominal government debt. Our main theoretical result relates the potency of such self-financing to the timing of fiscal adjustment. Pushing the fiscal adjustment further into the future helps generate a larger and more persistent boom, leading to more self-financing. Full self-financing is possible in the limit as fiscal adjustment is delayed more and more: the government can run a deficit today, refrain from tax hikes or spending cuts in the future, and nevertheless see its debt converge back to its initial level. We conclude by arguing that a large degree of self-financing is not only theoretically possible but also quantitatively relevant.