Some Even More Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic
AbstractDoes monetizing a deficit result in a higher or a lower rate of inflation than does bond financing the same deficit? Sargent and Wallace (1981) produced conditions under which bond finance leads to a higher rate of inflation than deficit monetization ("unpleasant monetarist arithmetic''). However, it has been argued that unpleasant arithmetic is unlikely to obtain in practice, as it requires a number of conditions to hold that are rarely satisfied empirically. We develop a model essentially identical to that of Sargent and Wallace, and modify it to allow for a simple type of financial intermediation that they exogenously precluded. In the presence of reserve requirements, unpleasant arithmetic arises even when the real rate of growth exceeds the real return on bonds. Moreover, under a very mild restriction on the interest elasticity of savings, there exists a unique equilibrium to which unpleasant arithmetic results necessarily apply. No "Laffer curve'' considerations arise. We also discuss various tensions that arise between determinacy and efficiency of monetary equilibria.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 5084.
Date of creation: 01 Aug 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Canadian Journal of Economics, August 1998, vol. 31 no. 3, pp. 596-623
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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Other versions of this item:
- E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
- E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
- E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
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