A Note on Deficit, Implicit Debt, and Interest Rates

Zijun Wang
July 2005
Southern Economic Journal;Jul2005, Vol. 72 Issue 1, p186
Academic Journal
This short note revisits the long-standing issue of the relationship between government borrowings and interest rates using vector autoregression (VAR) models. In particular, we consider the dynamic impacts of both official deficit and implicit debt on the interest rates. Two measures of unfunded Social Security obligations (implicit debt) are examined. The recently developed generalized forecast error variance decompositions, which are invariant to the ordering of variables in VARs, are adopted. We find that temporary shocks to the official deficit do not cause real interest rate changes in the short term but do cause moderate changes in the long term. They have significant impact on nominal interest rates in both short and long horizons. The implicit debt also appears to have some moderate influence on real interest rates at long horizons.


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