Date of Original Version



Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

Ricardian equivalence implies that the public debt affects neither wealth nor welfare. Rational, far seeing individuals undo privately any intergenerational transfers made by government. This conclusion is puzzling. Complaints about the burden of the debt on future generations are common in countries with public debt or current and prospective deficits. Why do rational individuals complain about a burden that, according to Ricardian equivalence does not occur?


Prepared for the session on "The Political Economy of Debt and Deficits" at the meeting of the American Economic Association, Chicago, IL, December 28-30, 1987