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The non-monotonic relationship between seigniorage and inequality

  • Joydeep Bhattacharya
  • Helle Bunzel
  • Joseph Haslag

We present an analysis of how political factors may come into play in the equilibrium determination of inflation. We employ a standard overlapping generations model with heterogenous young-age endowments, and a government that funds an exogenous spending via a combination of non-distortionary income taxes and the inflation tax. Agents have access to two stores of value: fiat money and an inflation-shielded, yet costly, asset. The model predicts that the relationship between elected reliance on the inflation tax (for revenue) and income inequality may be non-monotonic. We find robust empirical backing for this hypothesis from a cross-section of countries.

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Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 500-519

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:38:y:2005:i:2:p:500-519
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  1. Stefania Albanesi, . "Inflation and Inequality," Working Papers 199, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Bryant, John & Wallace, Neil, 1984. "A Price Discrimination Analysis of Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 279-88, April.
  3. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Joseph H. Haslag, 2001. "On the Use of the Inflation Tax When Nondistortionary Taxes Are Available," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 823-841, October.
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  11. James Bullard & Christopher J. Waller, 2002. "Central bank design in general equilibrium," Working Papers 1998-002, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
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  15. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  16. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Extensive Margins and the Demand for Money at Low Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 961-991, October.
  17. Bearse, P. & Glomm, G. & Janeba, E., 2000. "Why poor countries rely mostly on redistribution in-kind," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 463-481, March.
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