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Government Debt and Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy

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  • Adam, Klaus

Abstract

How do different levels of government debt affect the optimal conduct of monetary and fiscal policies? And what do these optimal policies imply for the evolution of government debt over time? To provide an answer, this paper studies a standard monetary policy model with nominal rigidities and monopolistic competition and adds to it a fiscal authority that issues nominal non-state contingent debt, levies distortionary labor income taxes and determines the level of public goods provision. Higher government debt levels make it optimal to reduce public spending, so as to dampen the adverse incentive effects of distortionary taxes, but also strongly influence the optimal stabilization response following technology shocks. In particular, higher debt levels give rise to larger risks to the fiscal budget and to tax rates. This makes it optimal to reduce government debt over time. The optimal speed of debt reduction is missed when using first order approximations to optimal policies, but is shown to be quantitatively significant in a second order approximation, especially when technology movements are largely unpredictable in nature.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8064.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8064

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Keywords: non-contingent debt; Ramsey optimal policy; second-order approximation; sticky prices;

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  1. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 519-39, August.
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  3. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Nominal debt as a burden on monetary policy," Economics Working Papers 841, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2006.
  4. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2006. "Monetary Conservatism and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Gomme, Paul & Klein, Paul, 2011. "Second-order approximation of dynamic models without the use of tensors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 604-615, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Woodford, M., 1997. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Papers 632, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  8. Argia M. Sbordone, 2001. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: A New Test of Price Stickiness," Departmental Working Papers 199822, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  9. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  10. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 2942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/13, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  12. Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 1996. "Optimal taxation without state-contingent debt," Economics Working Papers 170, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2001.
  13. Roberto M. Billi & Klaus Adam, 2010. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," 2010 Meeting Papers 1089, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2010. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," Research Working Paper RWP 10-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  2. Rieth, Malte, 2014. "Myopic governments and welfare-enhancing debt limits," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 250-265.
  3. Adam, Klaus & Grill, Michael, 2012. "Optimal Sovereign Default," CEPR Discussion Papers 9178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Francesco Caprioli & Pietro Rizza & Pietro Tommasino, 2012. "Optimal fiscal policy when agents fear government default," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 859, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  5. Giorgio Motta & Raffaele Rossi, 2013. "Ramsey monetary and fiscal policy: the role of consumption taxation," Working Papers 44449031, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  6. Niemann, Stefan & Pichler, Paul, 2011. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policies in the face of rare disasters," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 75-92, January.
  7. Ahmad Danu Prasetyo & Naoyuki Yoshino, 2013. "Improving the Government Debt Market Quality by Determining the Optimal Structure of Government Debt Portfolio," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2012-038, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.

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