Ricardian Equivalence

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Ricardian Equivalence'

An economic theory that suggests that when a government tries to stimulate demand by increasing debt-financed government spending, demand remains unchanged. This is because the public will save its excess money in order to pay for future tax increases that will be initiated to pay off the debt. This theory was developed by David Ricardo in the nineteenth century, but Harvard professor Robert Barro would implement Ricardo's ideas into more elaborate versions of the same concept.

Also known as "Barro-Ricardo equivalence proposition"

BREAKING DOWN 'Ricardian Equivalence'

The basic idea behind Ricardo's theory is that no matter how a government chooses to increase spending, whether with debt financing or tax financing, the outcome will be the same and demand will remain unchanged. The major arguments against Ricardo's theory are due to the unrealistic assumptions on which the theory is based, such as the assumptions of the existence of perfect capital markets, the ability for individuals to borrow and save whenever they want, and the assumption that individuals will be willing to save for a future tax increase even though they may not see it in their lifetimes. Furthermore, the theory provided by Ricardo goes against the more popular theories provided by Keynesian economics.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Fiscal Policy

    Government spending policies that influence macroeconomic conditions. ...
  2. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects ...
  3. Taxes

    An involuntary fee levied on corporations or individuals that ...
  4. Debt Financing

    When a firm raises money for working capital or capital expenditures ...
  5. Demand Shock

    A sudden surprise event that temporarily increases or decreases ...
  6. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has ...
Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Economics Basics

    Learn economics principles such as the relationship of supply and demand, elasticity, utility, and more!
  2. Options & Futures

    Explaining The World Through Macroeconomic Analysis

    From unemployment and inflation to government policy, learn what macroeconomics measures and how it affects everyone.
  3. Retirement

    Economic Indicators To Know

    The economy has a large impact on the market. Learn how to interpret the most important reports.
  4. Credit & Loans

    Getting Government Loans For Your Small Business

    Would a government loan provide a more cost-effective way to finance your business? See whether your company qualifies for a government loan.
  5. Economics

    Will North and South Korea Ever Reunite?

    North and South Korea have been divided for over six decades. Some analysts think the two countries could reunify within the next 10 years.
  6. Economics

    The Top 9 Things to Know About Hillary Clinton's Economic View

    Find out where former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stands on the economy, jobs, trade and education.
  7. Economics

    Is Argentina a Socialist Country?

    Find out why it does not really make sense to call Argentina a socialist country, even though the South American nation has many socialistic tendencies.
  8. Term

    What is the Macro Environment?

    The macro environment is the conditions existing in an economy as a whole, rather than in a single sector or region.
  9. Taxes

    What's Wrong with the American Tax System

    American's are highly taxed and we still run a deficit. We explain why.
  10. Economics

    How Does National Income Accounting Work?

    National income accounting is an economic term describing the system used by a country to gather data and determine aggregate economic activity.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What does the Ricardian Equivalence say about budget deficits?

    The theory of Ricardian equivalence states that government deficit spending will not increase aggregate demand because consumers ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the Ricardian vice?

    The Ricardian vice refers to abstract model-building and mathematical formulas with unrealistic assumptions. In simpler terms, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Where are the Social Security administration headquarters?

    The U.S. Social Security Administration, or SSA, is headquartered in Woodlawn, Maryland, a suburb just outside of Baltimore. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the Social Security administration responsible for?

    The main responsibility of the U.S. Social Security Administration, or SSA, is overseeing the country's Social Security program. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Is the Social Security administration a government corporation?

    The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is a government agency, not a government corporation. President Franklin Roosevelt ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the role of Medicare/Medicaid affect the drugs sector in the U.S.?

    Medicare and Medicaid have enormous influence on the pharmaceutical, or drugs, sector in the United States. For instance, ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  2. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  3. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  4. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
  5. Bear Market

    A market condition in which the prices of securities are falling, and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment ...
  6. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!