How Large Is the Federal Government's Debt?

Studies | Federal Spending | Government

No. 263
Thursday, October 30, 2003
by Liqun Liu, Andrew J. Rettenmaier, and Thomas R. Saving


Alan J. Auerbach and William G. Gale, "Perspectives on the Budget Surplus," National Tax Journal, Vol. 53, September 2000, pages 459-72.

Alan J. Auerbach, William G. Gale and Peter R. Orszag, "Reassessing the Fiscal Gap: Why Tax-Deferred Saving Will Not Solve the Problem," Tax Notes, July 28, 2003, Brookings Institution.

Alan J. Auerbach, Jagadeesh Gokhale and Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," in David Bradford, ed., Tax Policy and the Economy, Vol. 5 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991), pages 55-110.

Alan J. Auerbach, Jagadeesh Gokhale and Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter 1994, pages 73-94.

Trehan Bharat and Carl E. Walsh, "Testing Intertemporal Budget Constraints: Theory and Applications to U.S. Federal Budget and Current Account Deficits," Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Vol. 23, May 1991, pages 206-23.

Mario I. Blejer and Adrienne Cheasty, "The Measurement of Fiscal Deficits: Analytical and Methodological Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 29, December 1991, pages 1,664-78.

Willem H. Buiter, "Generational Accounts, Aggregate Saving and Intergenerational Distribution," Economica, Vol. 64, November 1997, pages 605-26.

David Cutler, "Review of Generational Accounting: Knowing Who Pays, and When, for What We Spend," National Tax Journal, Vol. 46, March 1993, pages 61-7.

Peter Diamond, "Generational Accounts and Generational Balance: An Assessment," National Tax Journal, Vol. 49, December 1996, pages 597-607.

Robert Eisner and Paul J. Pieper, "A New View of the Federal Debt and Budget Deficits," American Economic Review, Vol. 74, March 1984, pages 11-29.

Martin Feldstein, "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Formation," Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 82, 1974, pages 905-26.

Martin Feldstein, "Social Security and Private Saving: Reply," Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 90, June 1982, pages 630-42.

Jagadeesh Gokhale and Kent Smetters, "Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: New Budget Measures for New Budget Priorities," American Enterprise Institute, Pamphlet, July 2003.

Stephen C. Goss, "Measuring Solvency in the Social Security System," in Olivia S. Mitchell, Robert J. Meyers and Howard Young, eds., Prospects for Social Security Reform (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).

Craig S. Hakkio and Mark Rush, "Is the Budget Deficit ‘Too Large'?" Economic Inquiry, 1991, pages 429-45.

James D. Hamilton and Marjorie A. Flavin, "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for Empirical Testing," American Economic Review, September 1986, pages 808-16.

Alfred A. Haug, "Cointegration and Government Borrowing Constraints: Evidence for the United States," Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Vol. 9, January 1991, pages 97-101.

Robert Haveman, "Should Generational Accounts Replace Public Budgets and Deficits?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter 1994, pages 95-112.

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "Reply to Diamond and Cutler's Reviews of Generational Accounting," National Tax Journal, Vol. 50, June 1997, pages 303-14.

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "Privatizing Social Security at Home and Abroad," American Economic Review, Vol. 86, May 1996, pages 368-72.

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "The Deficit Is Not a Well-Defined Measure of Fiscal Policy," Science, Vol. 241, August 1988, pages 791-5.

Dean R. Leimer and Selig D. Lesnoy, "Social Security and Private Saving: New Time-Series Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 90, June 1982, pages 606-29.

Herman B. Leonard, Checks Unbalanced (New York: Basic Books, 1986).

Liqun Liu, Andrew J. Rettenmaier and Thomas R. Saving, "Constraints on Big-Bang Solutions: The Case of Intergenerational Transfers," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 156, March 2000, pages 270-91.

Office of Management and Budget, Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2004, 2003 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002, 2003).

Social Security Administration, "Unfunded Obligations and Selected Transition Costs for the Combined Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Programs," unpublished table by the Office of the Chief Actuary, April 3, 2002.

David W. Wilcox, "The Sustainability of Government Deficits: Implications of the Present-Value Borrowing Constraint," Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Vol. 21, August 1989, pages 291-306.

Read Article as PDF