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Discretionary policy in a monetary union with sovereign debt

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  • Leith, Campbell
  • Wren-Lewis, Simon

Abstract

This paper examines the interactions between multiple national fiscal policymakers and a single monetary policy maker in response to shocks to government debt in some or all of the countries of a monetary union. We assume that national governments respond to excess debt in an optimal manner, but that they do not have access to a commitment technology. This implies that national fiscal policy gradually reduces debt: the lack of a commitment technology precludes a random walk in steady-state debt, but the need to maintain national competitiveness avoids excessively rapid debt reduction. If the central bank can commit, it adjusts its policies only slightly in response to higher debt, allowing national fiscal policy to undertake most of the adjustment. However, if it cannot commit, then optimal monetary policy involves using interest rates to rapidly reduce debt, with significant welfare costs. We show that in these circumstances the central bank would do better to ignore national fiscal policies in formulating its policy.

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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: 93-117

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:1:p:93-117

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

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Keywords: Monetary policy Fiscal policy Monetary union Sovereign debt Time-consistency Optimal policy;

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References

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  1. Ellison, Martin & Rankin, Neil, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy when lump-sum taxes are unavailable: A reconsideration of the outcomes under commitment and discretion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-243, January.
  2. Campbell leith & Jim Malley, 2002. "Estimated General Equilibrium Models for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy in the US and Europe," Working Papers 2001_16, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  3. Söderlind, Paul, 1998. "Solution and Estimation of RE Macromodels with Optimal Policy," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 256, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2008. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 493-514, July.
  5. Jordi Gal� & Tommaso Monacelli, 2005. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 707-734.
  6. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Linear-Quadratic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 271-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Andrea Ferrero, 2005. "Fiscal and Monetary Rules for a Currency Union," Macroeconomics 0508020, EconWPA.
  10. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2004. "Comparing shocks and frictions in US and euro area business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0391, European Central Bank.
  11. Simon Wren-Lewis & Fabian Eser, 2009. "When is Monetary Policy All we Need?," Economics Series Working Papers 430, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Tatiana Kirsanova & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2009. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy Interaction: The Current Consensus Assignment in the Light of Recent Developments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages F482-F496, November.
  13. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert E & Diba, Behzad T, 2001. "Fiscal Discipline and Exchange Rate Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 667-90, October.
  14. Tatiana Kirsanova & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2006. "Should Central Banks Target Consumer Prices or the Exchange Rate?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(512), pages F208-F231, 06.
  15. Gilles Oudiz & Jeffrey Sachs, 1985. "International Policy Coordination In Dynamic Macroeconomic Models," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Policy Coordination, pages 274-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Simon Wren-Lewis & Campbell Leith and Ioana Moldovan, 2011. "Debt Stabilization in a Non-Ricardian Economy," Economics Series Working Papers 542, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Krause, Michael U. & Moyen, Stéphane, 2013. "Public debt and changing inflation targets," Discussion Papers 06/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  4. Saroj Bhattarai & Jae Won Lee & Woong Yong Park, 2013. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency union with interest rate spreads," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 150, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

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