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Long-Term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level

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  • Cochrane, John H

Abstract

The fiscal theory says that the price level is determined by the ratio of nominal debt to the present value of real primary surpluses. The maturity structure of the debt matters in this theory. For example, it determines whether news of future deficits implies current inflation or future inflation, and the long-term debt allows the government to offset surplus shocks by ex-post devaluation. In the optimal policy, the government uses fiscal operations to smooth cyclical fiscal shocks. Since policy movements react to events rather than cause them, the optimal policy produces time series that are similar to U.S. time series.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 69 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 69-116

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:69:y:2001:i:1:p:69-116

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  1. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  4. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," CRSP working papers 479, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  5. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert & Diba, Behzad, 1998. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1772, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
  10. Michael Woodford, 1995. "Price Level Determinacy Without Control of a Monetary Aggregate," NBER Working Papers 5204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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