Public investment, deficit financing, and intertemporal redistribution in a long-run McGuire-Olson-Solow economy

Laura Castellucci, Stefano Gorini

Article ID: 1156
Vol 3, Issue 2, 2019, Article identifier:271-287

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We investigate the impact on intertemporal distribution caused by a change of policy from tax to deficit financing of public investment, using a simple theoretical framework which combines the one-period McGuire-Olson economy with the conventional long-run Solow economy. This theoretical framework provides a simple way to highlight some significant interdependencies between private and public investments as well as the negative impact of taxation on aggregate productivity, and to trace some possible transmission mechanisms between deficit financing policies and the long-run path of consumption per head. The main tentative (theoretical) result is that although under fairly acceptable assumptions the likely impact of a deficit financing policy is to benefit the present at the expense of the future, under equally acceptable assumptions concerning the possibility of an excessive macro private saving–investment propensity, and/or of a significant productivity loss due to the excess burden of taxation, the adverse intertemporal distributional impact of deficit financing might become negligible, or even disappear altogether.

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