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Dynamic Seigniorage Theory: An Exploration

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  • Maurice Obstfeld

Abstract

This paper shows that the optimal extraction of seigniorage implies a strong tendency for inflation to fall over time toward its socially optimal level. The point is made using a multi-period model in which (i) the government can finance deficits through bond issue or money creation, (ii) private-sector expectations are rational, and (iii) the government sets the inflation rate each period in a discretionary manner. One way to view the model is as a synthesis of the "tax-smoothing" theory of government deficits, which predicts that the inflation tax follows approximately a martingale, and of models of discretionary policy making, which predict (absent reputation effects) that inflation is likely to exceed its socially optimal level. Both predictions are modified when the two approaches to explaining inflation are merged. Reputation effects play no role in the analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2869.

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Date of creation: Feb 1989
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Publication status: published as Obstfeld, Maurice, 1997. "Dynamic Seigniorage Theory," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(03), pages 588-614, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2869

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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "The Optimal Collection of Seigniorage: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marcus Miller & Mark Salmon, 1985. "Policy Coordination And Dynamic Games," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Policy Coordination, pages 184-227 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
  5. Barsky, Robert B., 1987. "The Fisher hypothesis and the forecastability and persistence of inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-24, January.
  6. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2010. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, 1: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Levine's Working Paper Archive 397, David K. Levine.
  7. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1981. "Speculative hyperinflations in a maximizing models: can we rule them out?," International Finance Discussion Papers 195, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1986. "Principles of fiscal and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 117-134, January.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1978. "Optimal seigniorage from money creation : An analysis in terms of the optimum balance of payments deficit problem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 503-517, August.
  10. Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1984. "Seigniorage, Inflation, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 1505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
  12. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1983. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," Scholarly Articles 12491027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Auernheimer, Leonardo, 1974. "The Honest Government's Guide to the Revenue from the Creation of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(3), pages 598-606, May/June.
  14. Brock, William A, 1974. "Money and Growth: The Case of Long Run Perfect Foresight," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(3), pages 750-77, October.
  15. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  16. Cohen, Daniel & Michel, Philippe, 1988. "How Should Control Theory Be Used to Calculate a Time-Consistent Government Policy?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 263-74, April.
  17. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
  18. Kiguel, Miguel A & Liviatan, Nissan, 1988. "Inflationary Rigidities and Orthodox Stabilization Policies: Lessons from Latin America," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 273-98, September.
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