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

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  1. Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Seminar Papers 632, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Giorgia Giovanetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," Working Papers 8, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Martin Uribe & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2001. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under sticky prices," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  4. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/13, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  5. 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.
  6. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2005. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," Research Working Paper RWP 05-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  7. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2007. "Monetary conservatism and fiscal policy," Research Working Paper RWP 07-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  8. Luis J. Álvarez & Emmanuel Dhyne & Marco Hoeberichts & Claudia Kwapil & Hervé Le Bihan & Patrick Lünnemann & Fernando Martins & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Philip Vermeulen & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Sticky Prices in the Euro Area: A Summary of New Micro-Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 575-584, 04-05.
  9. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2014. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 1-6.
  10. Guido Ascari & Tiziano Ropele, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy under low trend inflation," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 647, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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