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Post-Thatcher Fiscal Strategies in the U.K.: An Interpretation

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  • Andrew Hughes Hallett

Abstract

Fiscal policy in Britain has changed radically since the Keynesianism of the 1960s and 1970s. After a passive period under monetarism of the 1980s, fiscal policy is said to have adopted a leadership role with long term objectives (low debt, the provision of public services/ investment, and social equity), together with an independent central bank. Monetary policy, operating with instrument independence, then takes care of short run stabilisation. I test this view – confronting it with evidence from the institutional arrangements put in place since 1997; with econometric evidence from the policy responses themselves; and with theoretical evidence on the incentive to choose such a regime in the first place. I conclude that this claim is broadly correct. It appears that the UK’s improved performance is a consequence of the advantages of combining fiscal leadership with an (instrument) independent central bank. The key feature is the ability to trade target (not instrument) independence in monetary policy to secure greater coordination between fiscal and monetary strategies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1372.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1372

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Keywords: Stackelberg leadership; policy complementarity; institutional coordination;

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References

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  1. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2003. "Independent Monetary Policies and Social Equality," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0307, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  2. Marco Buti & Sylvester Eijffinger & Daniele Franco, 2003. "Revisiting the Stability and Growth Pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," European Economy - Economic Papers 180, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  3. Jordi Gali & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," NBER Working Papers 9773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2002. "Policy Games and the Optimal Design of Central Banks," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0220, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  5. Dixit, Avinash, 2001. "Games of monetary and fiscal interactions in the EMU," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 589-613, May.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  7. Gerlach, Stefan & Schnabel, Gert, 1999. "The Taylor Rule and Interest Rates in the EMU Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 2271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1086-1121, December.
  10. Gilles Oudiz & Jeffrey Sachs, 1984. "Macroeconomic Policy Coordination among the Industrial Economies," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(1), pages 1-76.
  11. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2005. "Independence Before Conservatism: Transparency, Politics and Central Bank Design," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, 02.
  12. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Weymark, Diana, 2002. "Government Leadership and Central Bank Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3395, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Avinash Dixit & Luisa Lambertini, 2003. "Interactions of Commitment and Discretion in Monetary and Fiscal Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1522-1542, December.
  14. Dieppe, Alistair & Kuester, Keith & McAdam, Peter, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy rules for the euro area: an analysis using the area wide model," Working Paper Series 0360, European Central Bank.
  15. Hughes Hallett, A J, 1984. "Non-cooperative Strategies for Dynamic Policy Games and the Problem of Time Inconsistency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 381-99, November.
  16. Andrew Hallett & Nicola Viegi, 2002. "Inflation Targeting as a Coordination Device," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 341-362, October.
  17. Brandsma, Andries S. & Hughes Hallett, A. J., 1984. "Economic conflict and the solution of dynamic games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 13-32.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Coordination without Explicit Cooperation: Monetary-Fiscal Interactions in an Era of Demographic Change," European Economy - Economic Papers 305, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  2. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Debt targets and fiscal sustainability in an era of monetary independence," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 165-187, July.
  3. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Sustainable fiscal policies and budgetary risk under alternative monetary policy arrangements," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 1-28, March.

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