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Is the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level Learnable?

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  • Bennett T. McCallum

Abstract

This paper presents a prototype model for development of the fiscal theory of the price level.' In this simple setting, the fiscal theory's distinctiveness relies upon adoption of a bubble solution, rather than the rational-expectations fundamentals solution. The paper then shows that the fiscal solution is not adaptively learnable, by agents who estimate coefficients relevant for forecasting on the basis of available data, whereas the orthodox monetarist' solution exists and is learnable. Finally, it is argued that similar results should be expected to apply in models that are more general in various dimensions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9961.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Publication status: published as Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 50, no. 5 (November 2003): 634-649
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9961

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  1. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1998. "Price Level Determinacy and Monetary Policy under a Balanced-Budget Requirement," Departmental Working Papers 199833, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Bennett T. McCallum, 1999. "Theoretical Issues Pertaining to Monetary Unions," NBER Working Papers 7393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Evans, George, 1985. "Expectational Stability and the Multiple Equilibria Problem in Linear Rational Expectations Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1217-33, November.
  4. Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst, 2000. "The fiscal theory of the price level," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 22-32.
  5. Nelson, Edward, 2003. "The future of monetary aggregates in monetary policy analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1029-1059, July.
  6. Buiter, Willem H, 1999. "The Fallacy of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 2205, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. John H. Cochrane, 2000. "Money as Stock: Price Level Determination with no Money Demand," NBER Working Papers 7498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
  9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2000. "Understanding the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 7668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Working Papers 6646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bergin, Paul R., 2000. "Fiscal solvency and price level determination in a monetary union," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 37-53, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  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.
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  16. 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.
  17. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 1998. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," NBER Working Papers 6471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Bennett T. McCallum, 1984. "Are Bond-Financed Deficits Inflationary? A Ricardian Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  21. Narayana Kocherlakota & Christopher Phelan, 1999. "Explaining the fiscal theory of the price level," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 14-23.
  22. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  23. Philippe Weil, 2002. "Reflections on the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8643, Sciences Po.
  24. Bennett T. McCallum, 2002. "Consistent Expectations, Rational Expectations, Multiple-Solution Indeterminacies, and Least-Squares Learnability," NBER Working Papers 9218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. 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.
  26. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  27. Evans, George W & Honkapohja, Seppo, 1992. "On the Robustness of Bubbles in Linear RE Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(1), pages 1-14, February.
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