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Heterogeneous Dynasties and the Political Economy of Public Debt

Grégory de Walque and Louis Gevers

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2001, vol. 103, issue 3, 369-389

Abstract: We consider a small open overlapping generations economy with descending altruism. Heterogeneity is introduced by assuming that each parent procreates a fixed proportion of selfish children. Altruistic parents can recognize the type of each child. There is no Ricardian equivalence and an active public intergenerational transfer policy is attractive to altruistic dynasty members, although there may be no unanimity among them. We display reasonable conditions for indirect preferences to be single‐peaked and we apply the median voter theorem. We then describe political equilibrium paths and discuss their compatibility with the steady path of an underlying closed economy with autonomous labor productivity growth. JEL classification: D31; D64; D72; D91; H63

Date: 2001
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