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Government debt and optimal monetary and fiscal policy

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  • Adam, Klaus

Abstract

How do different levels of government debt affect the optimal conduct of monetary and fiscal policies? And what do these optimal policies imply for the evolution of government debt over time? To provide an answer, this paper studies a standard monetary policy model with nominal rigidities and monopolistic competition and adds to it a fiscal authority that issues nominal non-state contingent debt, levies distortionary labor income taxes and determines the level of public goods provision. Higher government debt levels make it optimal to reduce public spending, so as to dampen the adverse incentive effects of distortionary taxes, but also strongly influence the optimal stabilization response following technology shocks. In particular, higher debt levels give rise to larger risks to the fiscal budget and to tax rates. This makes it optimal to reduce government debt over time. The optimal speed of debt reduction is missed when using first-order approximations to optimal policies, but is shown to be quantitatively significant in a second-order approximation, especially when technology movements are largely unpredictable in nature.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 57-74

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:1:p:57-74

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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Keywords: Ramsey optimal policy Second-order approximation Non-contingent debt Sticky prices;

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References

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  1. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  3. Paul Gomme & Paul Klein, 2009. "Second-order approximation of dynamic models without the use of tensors," Working Papers 09004, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised 28 Apr 2010.
  4. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Working Paper Series 0377, European Central Bank.
  5. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  6. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2006. "Monetary Conservatism and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ramon Marimon & Javier Díaz-Giménez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Pedro Teles, 2007. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 13677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2010. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," CEPR Discussion Papers 7741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Campbell Leith & Ioana Moldovan & Raffaele Rossi, 2009. "Monetary and fiscal policy under deep habits," Working Papers 2009_32, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  10. 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.
  11. Argia M. Sbordone, 2001. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: A New Test of Price Stickiness," Departmental Working Papers 200112, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  12. Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-lewis, 2006. "Fiscal Sustainability in a New Keynesian Model," WEF Working Papers 0006, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
  13. Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Seminar Papers 632, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  14. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 519-39, August.
  15. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Niemann, Stefan & Pichler, Paul, 2011. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policies in the face of rare disasters," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 75-92, January.
  2. Adam, Klaus & Grill, Michael, 2013. "Optimal sovereign default," Discussion Papers 09/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  3. Francesco Caprioli & Pietro Rizza & Pietro Tommasino, 2012. "Optimal fiscal policy when agents fear government default," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 859, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Roberto M. Billi & Klaus Adam, 2010. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," 2010 Meeting Papers 1089, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Rieth, Malte, 2014. "Myopic governments and welfare-enhancing debt limits," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 250-265.
  6. Giorgio Motta & Raffaele Rossi, 2013. "Ramsey monetary and fiscal policy: the role of consumption taxation," Working Papers 44449031, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  7. Ahmad Danu Prasetyo & Naoyuki Yoshino, 2013. "Improving the Government Debt Market Quality by Determining the Optimal Structure of Government Debt Portfolio," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2012-038, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.

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