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Monetary and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level: The Irreconcilable Differences

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  • Bennett T. McCallum
  • Edward Nelson

Abstract

The fiscal theory of the price level (FTPL) has attracted much attention but disagreement remains concerning its defining characteristics. Some writers have emphasized implications regarding interest-rate pegging and determinacy of RE solutions, whereas others have stressed its capacity to generate equilibria in which price level trajectories mimic those of bonds and differ drastically from those of money supplies. We argue that the FTPL attained prominence precisely because it appeared to provide a theory whose implications differ greatly from conventional monetary analysis; accordingly we review monetarist writings to identify the primary distinctions. In addition, we review recent findings concerning learnability %u2013 and therefore plausibility %u2013 of competing RE equilibria. These indicate that when FTPL and monetarist equilibria differ, the latter are more plausible in the vast majority of cases. Under Ricardian assumptions, necessary for clear distinctions, theoretical analysis indicates that fiscal and monetary coordination is not necessary for macroeconomic stability.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12089.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Publication status: published as Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2005. "Monetary and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level: The Irreconcilable Differences," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 565-583, Winter.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12089

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Cited by:
  1. Fan, Jingwen & Minford, Patrick, 2009. "Can the Fiscal Theory of the price level explain UK inflation in the 1970s?," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2009/26, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section, revised Mar 2011.
  2. Bajo-Rubio, Oscar & Díaz-Roldán, Carmen & Esteve, Vicente, 2009. "Deficit sustainability and inflation in EMU: An analysis from the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 525-539, December.
  3. Alexander Mihailov & Katrin Ullrich, 2008. "Independence and Accountability of Monetary and Fiscal Policy Committees," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2008-72, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  4. Dumitriu, Ramona & Stefanescu, Razvan, 2013. "Provocările politicii monetare
    [Monetary policy challenges]
    ," MPRA Paper 50261, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Sep 2013.
  5. Petia Ivanova, 2007. "The Fiscal Theory for the Cost Level and Monetarism," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 60-79.
  6. Schmidt, André, 2011. "Fiskalische Stabilität in einer Währungsunion," Discussion Papers 13/2011, Witten/Herdecke University, Faculty of Management and Economics.

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