A simple measure of the distributional burden of debt accumulation

 

Distributional analysis is an important feature in discussions of fiscal policy changes.  While changes in taxes and spending are typically subject to distributional scoring, the distributional costs of changes in net debt are generally ignored. This paper proposes a measure of the distributional burden of servicing the debt. Our primary measure constructs the real annual cost of servicing the debt for households at various levels of income. The distributional burden of the debt depends critically on the level of interest rates and the manner in which the debt service is financed. Using alternative assumptions about financing, we assess the distributional burden of the current level of government debt and the burden of future debt projected to accumulate under current law, current policy, and the Administration’s budget.

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About the Author

 

Aspen
Gorry
  • Macroeconomist Aspen Gorry studies employment and tax policy. His research focuses on jobs, specifically on how labor market policies impact employment outcomes for young workers. He has written about the impact of minimum wages on youth unemployment, optimal taxation over a worker's life cycle and the importance of early career experience for workers' labor market outcomes. Before joining AEI, he taught economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

  • Phone: 435-797-2397
    Email: aspen.gorry@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Regan Kuchan
    Phone: 202-862-5903
    Email: regan.kuchan@aei.org

 

Matthew H.
Jensen
  • Matthew Jensen is a research associate for economic policy studies. He maintains an active research agenda focused on public finance and taxation, and he coordinates the ongoing development of AEI’s International Tax Database. Jensen has written for The Wall Street Journal, US News, and Tax Notes, among others, and he frequently appears on radio and television. Before joining AEI, he worked for a hedge fund in Minneapolis.


    Follow Matthew Jensen on Twitter.

  • Email: Matt.Jensen@AEI.org

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