The Value of Government Debt

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Economics Working Paper 20107

Abstract: The market value of government debt equals the present discounted value of primary surpluses. Applying present value decompositions from asset pricing to this valuation equation, I find that half of the variation in the market value of debt to GDP ratio corresponds to varying forecasts of future primary surpluses, and half to varying discount rates. Variation in expected growth rates is unimportant.

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