Over the past decade, U.S. federal debt as a share of the economy has grown to levels not reached since the aftermath of World War II. Recent tax cuts and ongoing fiscal stimulus related to the Covid-19 pandemic have placed U.S. debt on an unstable and unprecedented path moving forward. Gauging the long-term sustainability of federal debt hinges on projections of one key underlying variable: the interest rate. At this webinar, public finance fellow Jorge Barro discussed how federal debt projections and the interest rate are both tied to demographic transformations underway in the U.S. and across the world today.
10:30 a.m. — Presentation
11:00 a.m. — Q&A
Jorge Barro, Ph.D., is a fellow in public finance at the Baker Institute. His area of research involves the development of dynamic macroeconomic models for fiscal policy evaluation. Prior to joining the Baker Institute, Barro was an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Public Policy Initiative, where he led the development of their dynamic macroeconomic model and helped launch the nonpartisan Penn Wharton Budget Model. He previously was an assistant professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) where he taught public finance and health care economics, introduction to microeconomics and graduate-level mathematics for economists. Barro also worked for LSU’s Economics & Policy Research Group (formerly the Division of Economic Development) and served as an economist for the Louisiana Department of Revenue. His specific research areas include corporate tax policy, state and local taxation, and the design of federal health care financing. Barro received a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in mathematics from LSU, as well as a master’s and a Ph.D. in economics from The University of Texas at Austin.