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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. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2010. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," Research Working Paper RWP 10-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  2. Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2000. "Nominal Debt as a Burden to Monetary Policy," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1387, Econometric Society.
  3. Argia M. Sbordone, 2001. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: A New Test of Price Stickiness," Departmental Working Papers 199822, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  4. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under sticky prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 198-230, February.
  5. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2006. "Monetary Conservatism and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Campbell Leith & Ioana Moldovan & Raffaele Rossi, 2009. "Monetary and fiscal policy under deep habits," Working Papers 2009_32, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  7. Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 1996. "Optimal taxation without state-contingent debt," Economics Working Papers 170, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2001.
  8. Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2006. "Fiscal Sustainability in a New Keynesian Model," Working Papers 2006_11, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow, revised Nov 2008.
  9. 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.
  10. Woodford, M., 1997. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Papers 632, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  11. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy Under Commitment with a Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 4111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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. Adam, Klaus & Grill, Michael, 2013. "Optimal sovereign default," Discussion Papers 09/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  2. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2014. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 1-6.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Rieth, Malte, 2011. "Myopic governments and welfare-enhancing debt limits," Working Paper Series 1308, European Central Bank.
  7. Burgert, Matthias & Schmidt, Sebastian, 2013. "Dealing with a liquidity trap when government debt matters: optimal time-consistent monetary and fiscal policy," Working Paper Series 1622, European Central Bank.
  8. Giorgio Motta & Raffaele Rossi, 2013. "Ramsey monetary and fiscal policy: the role of consumption taxation," Working Papers 44449031, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

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