The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy
The macroeconomic analysis of fiscal policy is usually based on one of two canonical models--the Barro-Ramsey model of infinitely-lived families or the Diamond-Samuelson model of overlapping generations. This paper argues that neither model is satisfactory and suggests an alternative. In the proposed model, some consumers plan ahead for themselves and their descendants, while others live paycheck to paycheck. This model is easier to reconcile with the essential facts about consumer behavior and wealth accumulation, and it yields some new and surprising conclusions about fiscal policy.