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Welfare Improving Coordination of Fiscal and Monetary Policy

Should independent monetary and fiscal policies coordinate their actions and/or targets? To examine this question the paper considers a simple reduced-form model in which monetary and fiscal policies are formally independent, but still interdependent—through their mutual spillovers. The analysis shows that the medium-run equilibrium levels of inflation, deficit, and output depend on the two policies’ (i) potency (elasticity of output with respect to the policy instruments), (ii) ambition (the level of their output target), and (iii) conservatism (inflation vs. output volatility aversion). What matters is however the relative degrees of these characteristics across the two policies rather than the absolute degrees for each policy. This implies that coordination of monetary and fiscal policy is superior to non-cooperative Nash behaviour. In particular, we find that ambition-coordination is more important than conservatism-coordination in terms of avoiding medium-run imbalances due to a tug-of-war betw een the policies. For this reason, and perhaps surprisingly, ambition-coordination can be welfare improving even if the policymakers’ objectives are idiosyncratic, and their coordinated output targets differ from the socially optimal value.

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Article provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its journal AUCO Czech Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 007-026

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Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2011_007
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  1. Jan Libich & Andrew Hughes Hallett & Petr Stehlik, 2007. "Monetary And Fiscal Policy Interaction With Various Degrees And Types Of Commitment," CAMA Working Papers 2007-21, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Jan Libich, 2007. "Fiscal-monetary Interactions: The Effect of Fiscal Restraint and Public Monitoring on Central Bank Credibility," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 559-576, November.
  3. Hughes Hallett, A J, 1986. "Autonomy and the Choice of Policy in Asymmetrically Dependent Economies: An Investigation of the Gains from International Policy Co-ordination," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 516-44, November.
  4. Stefano Eusepi & Jess Benhabib, 2005. "The Design of Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Global Perspective," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 388, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Andrew Hallett & Jan Libich, 2012. "Explicit inflation targets and central bank independence: friends or foes?," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 45(4), pages 271-297, November.
  6. Bas van Aarle & Jacob Engwerda & Joseph Plasmans, 2001. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy Interaction in the EMU: A Dynamic Game Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 437, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Viegi, Nicola, 2004. "An independent central bank faced with elected governments," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 907-922, November.
  8. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-86, March.
  9. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  10. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Jan Libich & Petr Stehlik, 2007. "Rogoff Revisited: The Conservative Central Banker Proposition Under Active Fiscal Policies," CAMA Working Papers 2007-20, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  11. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  12. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  13. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy rules based on real-time data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. 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.
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