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Government debt and optimal monetary and fiscal policy

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  • Adam, Klaus

Abstract

How do different levels of government debt affect the optimal conduct of monetary and fiscal policies? And what do these optimal policies imply for the evolution of government debt over time? To provide an answer, this paper studies a standard monetary policy model with nominal rigidities and monopolistic competition and adds to it a fiscal authority that issues nominal non-state contingent debt, levies distortionary labor income taxes and determines the level of public goods provision. Higher government debt levels make it optimal to reduce public spending, so as to dampen the adverse incentive effects of distortionary taxes, but also strongly influence the optimal stabilization response following technology shocks. In particular, higher debt levels give rise to larger risks to the fiscal budget and to tax rates. This makes it optimal to reduce government debt over time. The optimal speed of debt reduction is missed when using first-order approximations to optimal policies, but is shown to be quantitatively significant in a second-order approximation, especially when technology movements are largely unpredictable in nature.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam, Klaus, 2011. "Government debt and optimal monetary and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-74, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:1:p:57-74
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jmacro:v:54:y:2017:i:pb:p:306-331 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Francesco Caprioli & Pietro Rizza & Pietro Tommasino, 2011. "Optimal Fiscal Policy when Agents Fear Government Default," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 62(6), pages 1031-1043.
    3. Burgert, Matthias & Schmidt, Sebastian, 2014. "Dealing with a liquidity trap when government debt matters: Optimal time-consistent monetary and fiscal policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 282-299.
    4. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca & Jarociński, Marek & Maćkowiak, Bartosz & Schmidt, Sebastian, 2016. "Macroeconomic stabilization, monetary-fiscal interactions, and Europe’s monetary union," Working Paper Series 1988, European Central Bank.
    5. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2014. "Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 1-6.
    6. Poutineau, Jean-Christophe & Vermandel, Gauthier, 2017. "Global banking and the conduct of macroprudential policy in a monetary union," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 54(PB), pages 306-331.
    7. Klaus Adam & Michael Grill, 2017. "Optimal Sovereign Default," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 128-164, January.
    8. Horvath Michal, 2011. "Alternative Perspectives on Optimal Public Debt Adjustment," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, November.
    9. Rieth, Malte, 2014. "Myopic governments and welfare-enhancing debt limits," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 250-265.
    10. Giorgio Motta & Raffaele Rossi, 2018. "Optimal Fiscal Policy with Consumption Taxation," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 239, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    11. repec:spr:joptap:v:166:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s10957-014-0629-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Taisuke Nakata, 2017. "Optimal Government Spending at the Zero Lower Bound: A Non-Ricardian Analysis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 23, pages 150-169, January.
    13. Taisuke Nakata, 2017. "Optimal Government Spending at the Zero Lower Bound: A Non-Ricardian Analysis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 23, pages 150-169, January.
    14. Ahmad Danu Prasetyo & Naoyuki Yoshino, 2013. "Improving the Government Debt Market Quality by Determining the Optimal Structure of Government Debt Portfolio," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2012-038, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.
    15. Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí, 2013. "Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance: An Overview," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 1, pages 01-25 Central Bank of Chile.
    16. repec:cai:recosp:reco_hs02_0159 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Niemann, Stefan & Pichler, Paul, 2011. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policies in the face of rare disasters," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 75-92, January.
    18. Michael Grill & Klaus Adam, 2012. "Optimal Sovereign Debt Default," 2012 Meeting Papers 882, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. repec:eee:dyncon:v:85:y:2017:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Giorgio Motta & Raffaele Rossi, 2013. "Ramsey monetary and fiscal policy: the role of consumption taxation," Working Papers 44449031, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    21. Miller, David S., 2016. "Commitment versus discretion in a political economy model of fiscal and monetary policy interaction," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 17-29.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ramsey optimal policy Second-order approximation Non-contingent debt Sticky prices;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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