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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. 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.
  2. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Linear Quadratic Approach," NBER Working Papers 9905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ferrero, Andrea, 2009. "Fiscal and monetary rules for a currency union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 1-10, February.
  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. 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.
  6. Campbell Leith & Jim Malley, 2002. "Estimated General Equilibrium Models for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy in the US and Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 699, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. 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.
  8. Söderlind, Paul, 1998. "Solution and Estimation of RE Macromodels with Optimal Policy," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 256, Stockholm School of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Fabian Eser & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2009. "When is monetary policy all we need?," Working Papers 2009_18, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  12. 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.
  13. Martin Ellison & Neil Rankin, 2005. " Optimal Monetary Policy When Lump-Sum Taxes Are Unavailable: A Reconsideration of the Outcomes under Commitment and Discretion," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0501, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Krause, Michael U. & Moyen, Stéphane, 2013. "Public debt and changing inflation targets," Discussion Papers 06/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.

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