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Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Stabilisation Policies

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  • Klaus Adam

Abstract

This paper studies optimal stabilisation policies under commitment when monetary policy sets nominal interest rates and fiscal policy decides on public expenditure, income tax rates, and issuance of nominal non-contingent debt. High levels of government debt adversely affect the steady state of the economy and increase aggregate volatility. The latter emerges because debt exposes the government budget to real interest rate risk and thereby induces stronger volatility of taxes and public spending. The optimal variability of fiscal deficits is found to increase with the level of government debt, while the optimal variability of nominal interest rates decreases. Overall, optimal stabilisation policy does not require annual fiscal deficits to deviate by more than 3 percentage points of GDP from their steady state value or nominal interest rates to fall all the way to zero. Only if the standard deviation of economic disturbances is two to three times larger than suggested by post-war evidence do such events occur with non-negligible probability. Politique optimale de stabilisation monétaire et budgétaire Cet article étudie la politique optimale de stabilisation dans des conditions telles que la politique monétaire fixe les taux d’intérêt nominaux et la politique budgétaire détermine les dépenses publiques, les taux de l’impôt sur les revenus et l’émission de la dette nominale non contingente. Un niveau élevé d’endettement public a des effets négatifs sur l’état stationnaire de l’économie et accroît la volatilité globale. Cette volatilité tient à ce que la dette expose le budget de l’État à un risque de taux d’intérêt réel et provoque donc une plus grande instabilité de l’impôt et des dépenses publiques. On constate que la variabilité optimale des déficits budgétaires s’accroît en fonction du niveau de la dette publique, contrairement à la variabilité des taux d’intérêt nominaux, qui diminue. Au total, une politique optimale de stabilisation n’exige pas que le déficit budgétaire annuel s’écarte de plus de 3 points de PIB de sa valeur à l’état stationnaire, ni que les taux d’intérêt nominaux tombent totalement à zéro. C’est seulement si l’écart type des perturbations économiques est deux à trois fois supérieur aux résultats observés depuis la fin de la guerre que de tels événements se produisent, avec une probabilité non négligeable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 765.

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Date of creation: 04 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:765-en

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Keywords: distortionary taxes; interest rate policy; government spending; Ramsey optimal policy; non-contingent government debt; dette publique non contingente; Politique optimale de Ramsey; distorsions fiscales; politique de taux d’intérêt; dépenses publiques;

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  1. Ramon Marimon & Javier Díaz-Giménez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Pedro Teles, 2007. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 13677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," Departmental Working Papers 200105, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ascari, Guido & Ropele, Tiziano, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy under low trend inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2568-2583, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Álvarez, Luis J. & Dhyne, Emmanuel & Hoeberichts, Marco M. & Kwapil, Claudia & Le Bihan, Hervé & Lünnemann, Patrick & Martins, Fernando & Sabbatini, Roberto & Stahl, Harald & Vermeulen, Philip & Vi, 2005. "Sticky prices in the euro area: a summary of new micro evidence," Working Paper Series 0563, European Central Bank.
  6. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2010. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," CEPR Discussion Papers 7741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  9. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2006. "Monetary Conservatism and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Michael Woodford, 1998. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 173-219, January.
  11. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2005. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Research Working Paper RWP 05-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  12. 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.
  13. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2005. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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