Death, Population Growth, Productivity Growth and Debt Neutrality
NBER Working Paper No. 2027 (Also Reprint No. r1066)
Debt neutrality is said to occur if, given a program for public spending on current goods and services over time, the real equilibrium of the economy (private consumption, investment, relative prices, etc.) is independent of the pattern of government borrowing and lump-sum taxation over time. The paper brings together work of Blanchard on individual uncertain lifetimes and debt neutrality and Weil on population growth and debt neutrality. It is shown that there will be debt neutrality if and only if the sum of the rate of growth of population and the individual probability of death equals zero. If this condition holds, non-zero rates of growth of labor productivity will not destroy debt neutrality.
Published: "Death, Birth, Productivity Growth and Debt Neutrality," From The Economic Journal, Vol. 98, No. 391, pp. 279-293, (June 1988).