Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 377:
The Effectiveness of Government Debt and Transfers as Insurance

Martin Floden ()

Abstract: Government debt and redistributive taxation can help people to smooth consumption when facing uninsurable individual specific risk. I examine the effects that variations in public debt and transfers have on risk sharing, efficiency, and the distribution of resources. I find that risk sharing can be improved significantly by both debt and transfers, but that debt has adverse effects on equity. When used in isolation, debt will enhance welfare if transfers are lower than optimal. However, the beneficial effects of public debt vanish if transfers are used optimally.

Keywords: redistributive taxation; public debt; idiosyncratic risk; fiscal policy; social insurance; welfare measures; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: E21; E62; H21; H60; (follow links to similar papers)

36 pages, March 15, 2000

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This paper is published as:
Floden, Martin, (2001), 'The Effectiveness of Government Debt and Transfers as Insurance', Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 48(1), pages 81-108

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