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The Fallacy of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level, Again

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  • Willem Buiter

Abstract

The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level (FTPL) rejects the fundamental 'Ricardian' proposition, that the government budget constraint must hold identically, that is for all admissible values of the variables entering the budget constraint. Accordingly, if the government is to meet its contractual debt obligations, one of its instruments must be determined residually to ensure the budget constraint is satisfied. If the government overdetermines its fiscal-financial-monetary policy programme, contractual debt obligations will not be met. The FTPL asserts that even when the government overdetermines its policy programme, contractual debt obligations will always be met. The general price level plays the role of a default premium or discount. The paper shows that the FTPL is a fallacy and leads to anomalies and contradictions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 303.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_303

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Keywords: Fiscal theory of the price level; Ricardian fiscal rules; government budget constraint; price level indeterminacy;

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References

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  1. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
  2. Buiter, Willem H, 1987. "A Fiscal Theory of Hyperdeflations? Some Surprising Monetarist Arithmetic," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 111-18, March.
  3. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  4. Bennett T. McCallum, . "Indeterminacy, Bubbles, and the Fiscal Theory of Price Level Determination," GSIA Working Papers 1998-19, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  5. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Working Papers 6646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  7. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  9. Woodford, M., 1997. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Papers 632, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  10. 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.
  11. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 675-87, August.
  12. Buiter, Willem H, 1998. "The Young Person's Guide to Neutrality, Price Level Indeterminacy, Interest Rate Pegs and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 1799, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
  14. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  15. Cochrane, John H, 2001. "Long-Term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 69-116, January.
  16. Norbert Janssen & Charles Nolan & Ryland Thomas, 2004. "Money, Debt and Prices in the UK 1705-1996," CDMA Working Paper Series 200407, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  17. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2001. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1221-1238, December.
  18. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1986. "Ruling out divergent speculative bubbles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 349-362, May.
  20. John H. Cochrane, 2000. "Money as Stock: Price Level Determination with no Money Demand," NBER Working Papers 7498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Oscar Bajo-Rubio & Carmen Díaz-Roldán & Vicente Esteve, 2007. "Deficit sustainability and inflation in EMU: An analysis from the fiscal theory of the price level," Working Papers 07-01, Asociación Española de Economía y Finanzas Internacionales.
  2. Jerome Creel & Henri Sterdyniak, 2000. "La théorie budgétaire du niveau des prix : un bilan critique (The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level, a critical assessment) (in French with English summary)," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2000-03, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  3. António Afonso, 2002. "Disturbing the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level: Can it Fit the EU-15," Working Papers Department of Economics 2002/01, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  4. Guillard, Michel & Sosa Navarro, Ramiro, 2009. "Fiscal Imbalances, Inflation and Sovereign Default Dynamics," MPRA Paper 24075, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Óscar J. Arce, 2005. "Reflections on fiscalist divergent price-paths," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0533, Banco de Espa�a.
  6. Creel, Jérôme, 2001. "Strategic Interactions between Monetary and fiscal Policies : a case study for the European Stability Pact," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/3413, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5122 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Jérôme Creel & Henri Sterdyniak, 2000. "La théorie budgétaire du niveau des prix, un bilan critique," Sciences Po publications 2000-03, Sciences Po.

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