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The Macroeconomic Role of Fiscal Policy

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  • Christopher Allsopp
  • David Vines

Abstract

This article examines the new consensus that fiscal policy should have no macroeconomic role in 'flexible inflation targeting' regimes. There is little basis for this presumption. Fiscal policy remains important in setting the policy mix and in managing shocks and imbalances. The credibility of an inflation-targeting regime should be enhanced rather than reduced if fiscal policy plays its proper role. It is true, nevertheless, that the costs of focusing fiscal policy narrowly on public-sector concerns may not be very great, most of the time. However, when interest rates cannot be used, the role of fiscal policy must be different. With interest rates at their lower bound of zero, there is no plausible alternative. For asymmetric shocks and adjustments in EMU, fiscal policy needs, ideally, to substitute for the interest-rate policy reaction function of the consensus, but the difficulties are very great. We suggest a policy focus on real exchange rates as a way of resolving some of the dilemmas. There is a serious danger that orthodox views about fiscal policy, drawn from the consensus, will be inappropriately applied, especially in Europe. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 21 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (Winter)
Pages: 485-508

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:21:y:2005:i:4:p:485-508

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Web page: http://oxrep.oupjournals.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Ronald Schettkat & Rongrong Sun, 2009. "Monetary policy and European unemployment," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 94-108, Spring.
  2. Svan Jari Stehn & David Vines, 2007. "Debt Stabilisation Bias And The Taylor Principle: Optimal Policy In A New Keynesian Model With Government Debt And Inflation Persistence," CAMA Working Papers 2007-22, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  3. Stehn, Sven Jari & Vines, David, 2008. "Debt Stabilisation Bias and the Taylor Principle: Optimal Policy in a New Keynesian Model with Government Debt and Inflation Persistence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Rosaria Rita Canale & Pasquale Foresti & Ugo Marani & Oreste Napolitano, 2007. "On Keynesian effects of (apparent) non-Keynesian fiscal policies," Discussion Papers 8_2007, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  5. Pusch, Toralf, 2007. "Verteilungskampf und geldpolitische Sanktion," Working Papers on Economic Governance 23, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.
  6. Rosaria Rita Canale, 2010. "Central Bank Reaction to Public Deficit and Sound Public Finance: The Case of the European Monetary Union," Journal of Advanced Studies in Finance, ASERS Publishing, vol. 0(1), pages 4-17, June.
  7. Tania Ajam & Janine Aron, 2007. "Fiscal Renaissance in a Democratic South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-10, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  8. Canale, Rosaria Rita & Napolitano, Oreste, 2009. "The recessive attitude of EMU policies: reflections on the italian experience, 1998–2008," MPRA Paper 20207, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Carlin, Wendy & Soskice, David, 2007. "Reforms, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Performance in Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 6415, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Philip Arestis, 2011. "Fiscal Policy Is Still an Effective Instrument of Macroeconomic Policy," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 58(2), pages 143-156, June.

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