Preemptive Austerity with Rollover Risk

Abstract: By preemptive austerity, we mean a policy that increases taxes to deter potential rollover crises. The policy is so successful that the usual danger signal of a rollover crisis, a high yield on new bonds sold, does not show up because the policy eliminates the danger. Mechanically, high taxes make the safe zone in the model - the set of sovereign debt levels for which the government prefers to repay its debt rather than default - larger. By announcing a high tax rate at the beginning of the period, the government ensures that tax revenue will be high enough to service sovereign debt becoming due, which deters panics by international lenders but is ex-post suboptimal. That is why, as it engages in preemptive austerity, the government continues to reduce the level of debt to a point where, asymptotically, high taxes are no longer necessary.

Keywords: Debt crises; Rollover crisis; Fiscal policy; Labor taxes; Eurozone;

JEL Classification: E60; F30; F40; H20; H30;

Access Documents

File(s): File format is application/pdf


Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Part of Series: Staff Report

Publication Date: 2023-10-30

Number: 654