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Is The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level Learnable?

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  • Bennett T. Mccallum

Abstract

This paper presents a prototype model for development of the “fiscal theory of the price level.” In this simple setting, the fiscal theory’s distinctiveness relies upon adoption of a bubble solution, rather than the rational-expectations fundamentals solution. The paper then shows that the fiscal solution is not adaptively learnable, by agents who estimate coefficients relevant for forecasting on the basis of available data, whereas the orthodox “monetarist” solution exists and is learnable. Finally, it is argued that similar results should be expected to apply in more complex models. JEL Nos. E5, E6, D8. Keywords: Monetary theory, fiscal theory, price level determination, learning, rational expectations.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 50 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 634-649

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:50:y:2003:i:5:p:634-649

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References

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  1. Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst, 2000. "The fiscal theory of the price level," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 22-32.
  2. Bergin, Paul R., 2000. "Fiscal solvency and price level determination in a monetary union," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 37-53, February.
  3. Narayana Kocherlakota & Christopher Phelan, 1999. "Explaining the fiscal theory of the price level," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 14-23.
  4. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  5. Evans, George W & Honkapohja, Seppo, 1992. "On the Robustness of Bubbles in Linear RE Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 1-14, February.
  6. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
  7. Evans, George, 1985. "Expectational Stability and the Multiple Equilibria Problem in Linear Rational Expectations Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1217-33, November.
  8. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2001. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1221-1238, December.
  9. Philippe Weil, 2002. "Reflections on the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8643, Sciences Po.
  10. Willem H. Buiter, 1998. "The Young Person's Guide to Neutrality, Price Level Indeterminacy, Interest Rate Pegs, and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 6396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2000. "Price level determinacy and monetary policy under a balanced-budget requirement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 211-246, February.
  12. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  13. John H. Cochrane, 1999. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 323-421 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
  15. McCallum, Bennett T, 1984. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 123-35, February.
  16. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2000. "Understanding the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 7668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
  18. Nelson, Edward, 2003. "The future of monetary aggregates in monetary policy analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1029-1059, July.
  19. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  20. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  21. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  22. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bajo-Rubio, Oscar & Díaz-Roldán, Carmen & Esteve, Vicente, 2009. "Deficit sustainability and inflation in EMU: An analysis from the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 525-539, December.
  2. Harashima, Taiji, 2007. "The Optimal Quantity of Money Consistent with Positive Nominal Interest Rates," MPRA Paper 1839, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Feb 2007.
  3. Fan, Jingwen & Minford, Patrick & Ou, Zhirong, 2013. "The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level - identification and testing for the UK in the 1970s," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2013/12, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  4. Harashima, Taiji, 2008. "A Microfounded Mechanism of Observed Substantial Inflation Persistence," MPRA Paper 10668, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Avgeris Nikolaos & Katrakilidis Constantinos, 2013. "A Dynamic Panel, Empirical Investigation on the Link between Inflation and Fiscal Imbalances. Does Heterogeneity Matter?," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2013(2), pages 147-162.
  6. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2006. "Monetary and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level: The Irreconcilable Differences," NBER Working Papers 12089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Taiji Harashima, 2004. "The Ultimate Source of Inflation: A Microfoundation of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Macroeconomics 0409018, EconWPA, revised 23 Sep 2004.
  8. Evans, George W & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2008. "Expectations, Learning and Monetary Policy: An Overview of Recent Rersearch," CEPR Discussion Papers 6640, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. repec:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-64 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Hemantha K.J. Ekanayake, 2012. "The Link Between Fiscal Deficit and Inflation: Do public sector wages matter?," ASARC Working Papers 2012-14, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  11. Fan, Jingwen & Minford, Patrick, 2009. "Can the Fiscal Theory of the price level explain UK inflation in the 1970s?," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2009/26, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Mar 2011.
  12. Harashima, Taiji, 2007. "Hyperinflation, disinflation, deflation, etc.: A unified and micro-founded explanation for inflation," MPRA Paper 3836, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Óscar J. Arce, 2005. "Reflections on fiscalist divergent price-paths," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0533, Banco de Espa�a.
  14. Petia Ivanova, 2007. "The Fiscal Theory for the Cost Level and Monetarism," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 60-79.
  15. Willem Buiter, 2004. "A Small Corner of Intertemporal Public Finance - New Developments in Monetary Economics: 2 Ghosts, 2 Eccentricities, A Fallacy, A Mirage and A Mythos," NBER Working Papers 10524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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