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Inflation Implications of Rising Government Debt

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2006

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  • Chryssi Giannitsarou
  • Andrew Scott

Abstract

The intertemporal budget constraint of the government implies a relationship between a ratio of current liabilities to the primary deficit with future values of inflation, interest rates, GDP and narrow money growth and changes in the primary deficit. This relationship defines a natural measure of fiscal balance and can be used as an accounting identity to examine the channels through which governments achieve fiscal sustainability. We evaluate the ability of this framework to account for the fiscal behaviour of six industrialised nations since 1960. We show how fiscal imbalances are mainly removed through adjustments in the primary deficit (80-100%), with less substantial roles being played by inflation (0-10%) and GDP growth (0-20%). Focusing on the relation between fiscal imbalances and inflation suggests extremely modest interactions. This post WWII evidence suggests that the widely anticipated future increases in fiscal deficits, need not necessarily have a substantial impact on inflation.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Lucrezia Reichlin & Kenneth West, 2008. "NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2006," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number reic08-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7040.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7040

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    1. Michael Woodford, 1995. "Price Level Determinacy Without Control of a Monetary Aggregate," NBER Working Papers 5204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 785, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E, 1991. "Testing Intertemporal Budget Constraints: Theory and Applications to U.S. Federal Budget and Current Account Deficits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 206-23, May.
    4. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Rey, Hélène, 2005. "International Financial Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4923, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    8. Henning Bohn, . "Budget Balance Through Revenue or Spending Adjustments ? Some Historical Evidence for the United States (Reprint 013)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-91, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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    10. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
    11. McCallum, Bennett T, 1984. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 123-35, February.
    12. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
    13. Ball, Laurence & Elmendorf, Douglas W & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1998. "The Deficit Gamble," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 699-720, November.
    14. Steven M. Sheffrin & Paul Bergin, 2003. "Interest Rates, Exchange Rates And Present Value Models Of The Current Account," Working Papers 9722, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    15. Bohn, H., 1991. "Budget Balance Through Revenue or Spending Adjustments? Some Historical Evidence for the United States," Weiss Center Working Papers 3-91, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
    16. Cochrane, John H, 1992. "Explaining the Variance of Price-Dividend Ratios," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 243-80.
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    19. Henning Bohn, 2005. "The Sustainability of Fiscal Policy in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 1446, CESifo Group Munich.
    20. Bharat Trehan & Carl E. Walsh, 1987. "Common trends, the government's budget constraint, and revenue smoothing," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 87-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ananda Jayawickrama & Tilak Abeysinghe, 2006. "Sustainability of Fiscal Deficits : The US Experience 1929-2004," Governance Working Papers 21924, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    2. Nawaz, Muhammad & Iqbal, Muhammad Mazhar & Ali, Amanat & Zaman, Khalid, 2012. "Fiscal Theory of Price Level: A Panel Data Analysis for selected Saarc Countries," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(3), pages 152-170, September.
    3. Hess Chung & Eric M. Leeper, 2007. "What Has Financed Government Debt?," NBER Working Papers 13425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bertola, Giuseppe, 2010. "Fiscal Policy and Labor Markets at Times of Public Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 8037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Kriwoluzky, Alexander & Kliem, Martin & Sarferaz, Samad, 2013. "On the low-frequency relationship between public deficits and inflation," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80000, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Mike, 2012. "A model-based indicator of the fiscal stance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 526-551.
    7. S. Adnan & H.A.S. BUKHARI & Safdar Ullah KHAN, 2008. "Does Volatility In Government Borrowing Leads To Higher Inflation? Evidence From Pakistan," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 3(3(5)_Fall), pages 187-202.
    8. Henning Bohn, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of Rising U.S. Government Debt: Privileges at Risk," CESifo Working Paper Series 3079, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Krause, Michael U. & Moyen, Stéphane, 2013. "Public debt and changing inflation targets," Discussion Papers 06/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
    10. Joshua Mason and Arjun Jayadev, . "Fisher Dynamics in Household Debt: The Case of the U.S. 1929-2011," Working Papers 13, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
    11. Nicholas Apergis & Arusha Cooray, 2013. "Forecasting fiscal variables: Only a strong growth plan can sustain the Greek austerity programs-Evidence from simultaneous and structural models," CAMA Working Papers 2013-25, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    12. Rodolfo Mendez-Marcano & Jose Pineda, 2014. "Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Growth in Bolivia," Working Papers 1406, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    13. Hasko, Harri, 2007. "‘Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic’: the role of monetary and fiscal policy in public debt dynamics since the 1970s," Research Discussion Papers 28/2007, Bank of Finland.

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