Tepper School of Business
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2013||Poverty and Self-Control|
with B. Douglas Bernheim, Debraj Ray: w18742
The absence of self-control is often viewed as an important correlate of persistent poverty. Using a standard intertemporal allocation problem with credit constraints faced by an individual with quasi- hyperbolic preferences, we argue that poverty damages the ability to exercise self-control. Our theory invokes George Ainslie's notion of "personal rules," interpreted as subgame-perfect equilibria of an intrapersonal game played by a time-inconsistent decision maker. Our main result pertains to situations in which the individual is neither so patient that accumulation is possible from every asset level, nor so impatient that decumulation is unavoidable from every asset level. Such cases always possess a threshold level of assets above which personal rules support unbounded accumulation, an...
Published: B. Douglas Bernheim & Debraj Ray & Şevin Yeltekin, 2015. "Poverty and Self‐Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83(5), pages 1877-1911, 09. citation courtesy of
|October 2010||How Does the U.S. Government Finance Fiscal Shocks?|
with Antje Berndt, Hanno Lustig: w16458
We develop a method for identifying and quantifying the fiscal channels that help finance government spending shocks. We define fiscal shocks as surprises in defense spending and show that they are more precisely identified when defense stock data are used in addition to aggregate macroeconomic data. Our results show that in the postwar period, over 9% of the U.S. government's unanticipated spending needs were financed by a reduction in the market value of debt and more than 73% by an increase in primary surpluses. Additionally, we find that long-term debt is more effective at absorbing fiscal risk than short-term debt.
Published: Antje Berndt & Hanno Lustig & Sevin Yeltekin, 2012. "How Does the US Government Finance Fiscal Shocks?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 69-104, January. citation courtesy of
|October 2005||Fiscal Hedging and the Yield Curve|
with Hanno Lustig, Christopher Sleet: w11687
We identify a novel, fiscal hedging motive that helps to explain why governments issue more expensive, long-term debt. We analyze optimal fiscal policy in an economy with distortionary labor income taxes, nominal rigidities and nominal debt of various maturities. The government in our model can smooth labor tax rates by changing the real return it pays on its outstanding liabilities. These changes require state contingent inflation or adjustments in the nominal term structure. In the presence of nominal pricing rigidities and a cash in advance constraint, these changes are themselves distortionary. We show that long term nominal debt can help a government hedge fiscal shocks by spreading out and delaying the distortions associated with increases in nominal interest rates over the maturity ...
Published: Lustig, Hanno, Chris Sleet, and Sevin Yeltekin. "Fiscal Hedging with Nominal Assets." Journal of Monetary Economics 55, 4(2008).