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Seigniorage

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  • Willem Buiter

Abstract

In this paper I analyse four different but related concepts, each of which highlights some aspect of the way in which the state acquires command over real resources through its ability to issue fiat money. They are (1) seigniorage (the change in the monetary base), (2) Central Bank revenue (the interest bill saved by the authorities on the outstanding stock of base money liabilities), (3) the inflation tax (the reduction in the real value of the stock of base money due to inflation and (4) the operating profits of the central bank, or the taxes paid by the Central Bank to the Treasury. To understand the relationship between these four concepts, an explicitly intertemporal approach is required, which focuses on the present discounted value of the current and future resource transfers between the private sector and the state. Furthermore, when the Central Bank is operationally independent, it is essential to decompose the familiar consolidated 'government budget constraint' and consolidated 'government intertemporal budget constraint' into the separate accounts and budget constraints of the Central Bank and the Treasury. Only by doing this can we appreciate the financial constraints on the Central Bank's ability to pursue and achieve an inflation target, and the importance of cooperation and coordination between the Treasury and the Central Bank when faced with financial sector crises involving the need for long-term recapitalisation or when confronted with the need to mimic Milton Friedman's helicopter drop of money in an economy faced with a liquidity trap.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0786.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0786

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: inflation tax; central bank budget constraint; coordination of monetary and fiscal policy;

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References

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  1. Buiter, Willem H, 2003. "Two Naked Emperors? Concerns about the Stability and Growth Pact and Second Thoughts About Central Bank Independence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4001, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I., 1985. "Money, deficits, and inflation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 147-195, January.
  3. Easterly, William & Mauro, Paolo & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1992. "Money demand and seignorage - maximizing inflation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1049, The World Bank.
  4. Rachel L. Ngai, 2007. "An R&D-based Model of Multi-sector Growth," 2007 Meeting Papers 349, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2009. "Multi-Product Firms and Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 09-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Willem H. Buiter, 2005. "New Developments in Monetary Economics: Two ghosts, Two Eccentricities, a Fallacy, a Mirage and a Mythos," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages C1-C31, 03.
  7. Marvin Goodfriend, 2000. "Overcoming the zero bound on interest rate policy," Working Paper 00-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  8. Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency : Gesell's solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 848, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  10. Eid, Jean & Overman, Henry G. & Puga, Diego & Turner, Matthew A., 2008. "Fat city: Questioning the relationship between urban sprawl and obesity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 385-404, March.
  11. Buiter, Willem H, 2004. "Helicopter Money: Irredeemable Fiat Money and the Liquidity Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 4202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Anand, Ritu & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1989. "Inflation and the Financing of Government Expenditure: An Introductory Analysis with an Application to Turkey," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 17-38, January.
  13. Willem H. Buiter, 2004. "Two Naked Emperors? Concerns about the Stability & Growth Pact and Second Thoughts about Central Bank Independence," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(3), pages 249-277, September.
  14. Blinder, Alan S. & Solow, Robert M., 1973. "Does fiscal policy matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 319-337.
  15. Wilem H. Buiter, 2005. "Overcoming the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates: Gesell's Currency Carry Tax vs. Eisler's arallel Virtual Currency," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-96, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  16. Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "The ends of four big inflations," Working Papers 158, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Rudiger Dornbusch & Stanley Fischer, 1986. "Stopping Hyperinflations Past and Present," NBER Working Papers 1810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Willem Buiter, 2005. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates: Gesell’s currency carry tax vs. Eisler’s parallel virtual currency," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 189-200, November.
  19. Kiguel, M.A., 1993. "Seigniorage and Inflation: the Case of Argentina," Papers 9312, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  20. Friedman, Milton, 1971. "Government Revenue from Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(4), pages 846-56, July-Aug..
  21. Flandreau, Marc, 2007. "Pillars of Globalization: A history of monetary policy targets, 1797-1997," CEPR Discussion Papers 6252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. L. Rachel Ngai & Roberto M. Samaniego, 2006. "An R&D-based model of multi-sector growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3527, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  23. Willem H. Buiter, 1990. "Principles of Budgetary and Financial Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524139, December.
  24. M. Fase, 2005. "On Economics and Religion," De Economist, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 85-106, December.
  25. James Tobin & Willem H. Buiter, 1974. "Long Run Effects of Fiscal and Monetary Policy on Aggregate Demand," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 384, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nicholas Oulton, 2007. "Chain indices of the cost of living and the path-dependence problem: an empirical solution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19718, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Giorgio Gobbi & Roberta Zizza, 2007. "Does the underground economy hold back financial deepening? Evidence from the Italian credit market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19731, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Baldwin, Richard & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2006. "Protection for Sale Made Easy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5452, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Buiter, Willem H, 2008. "Can Central Banks Go Broke?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Buiter, Willem H, 2008. "Economic, Political, and Institutional Prerequisites for Monetary Union Among the Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council," CEPR Discussion Papers 6639, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Nicholas Oulton, 2007. "Jeremy Greenwood and Per Krusell, "Growth Accounting with Investment-Specific Technological Progress: A Discussion of Two Approaches" A Rejoinder," CEP Discussion Papers dp0802, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Stracca, Livio, 2007. "Should we take inside money seriously?," Working Paper Series 0841, European Central Bank.
  8. Eran Yashiv, 2007. "The Beveridge Curve," CEP Discussion Papers dp0807, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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