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Some Even More Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic


  • Bruce Smith
  • J. Bhattacharya
  • Mark Guzman


Does monetizing a deficit always result in a higher rate of inflation than bond financing the same deficit? T. J. Sargent and N. Wallace (1981) produced conditions under which the answer was negative ('unpleasant monetarist arithmetic'). Subsequent authors have challenged the empirical validity of these conditions. The authors develop a model similar to that of Sargent and Wallace and modify it to allow for financial intermediation. In the presence of reserve requirements, unpleasant arithmetic arises even when the real rate of growth exceeds the real return on bonds. Moreover, under empirically plausible restrictions, there exists a unique equilibrium; no Laffer curve considerations arise.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Smith & J. Bhattacharya & Mark Guzman, 1998. "Some Even More Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(3), pages 596-623, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:31:y:1998:i:3:p:596-623

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis & Mukhopadhyay, Bappaditya, 2002. "Multiple bank lending and seniority in claims," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 7-30.
    2. A. Fedele & A. Mantovani & F. Liucci, 2010. "Credit availability in the crisis: which role for the European Investment Bank Group?," Working Papers 699, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schreft, Stacey L & Smith, Bruce D, 2002. "The Conduct of Monetary Policy with a Shrinking Stock of Government Debt," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(3), pages 848-882, August.
    2. Marco A. Espinosa-Vega & Steven Russell, 1997. "History and theory of the NAIRU: a critical review," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 2, pages 4-25.
    3. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Joseph H. Haslag, 1999. "Monetary policy arithmetic: some recent contributions," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q III, pages 26-36.
    4. Barnett, Richard C., 2005. "Coordinating macroeconomic policy in a simple AK growth model," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 621-647, December.
    5. Mark G. Guzman, 2008. "The Impact Of Paying Interest On Reserves In The Presence Of Government Deficit Financing," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(4), pages 624-642, October.
    6. Joseph H. Haslag & Joydeep Bhattacharya, 1999. "Seigniorage in a neoclassical economy: some computational results," Working Papers 9901, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    7. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2006-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Stacey Schreft & Bruce Smith, 2008. "The social value of risk-free government debt," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 131-155, March.
    9. Marco A. Espinosa-Vega & Steven Russell, 2001. "Stability of steady states in a model of pleasant monetarist arithmetic," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2001-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Fung, Michael K. Y. & Ho, Wai-Ming & Zhu, Lijing, 2000. "Stagflationary effect of government bond financing in the transforming Chinese economy: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 111-135, February.
    11. Cothren, Richard, 2006. "A model of optimal legal restrictions and open market operations," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 480-492, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy


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