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Sovereign Default and Monetary Policy Tradeoffs

Author

Listed:
  • Huixin Bi

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City)

  • Eric M. Leeper

    (Indiana University and NBER)

  • Campbell Leith

    (University of Glasgow)

Abstract

The paper is organized around the following question: when the economy moves from a debt-GDP level where the probability of default is nil to a higher level—the “fiscal limit”—where the default probability is non-negligible, how do the effects of routine monetary operations designed to achieve macroeconomic stabilization change? We find that the specification of the monetary policy rule plays a critical role. Consider a central bank that targets the risky rate. When the economy is near its fiscal limit, a transitory monetary policy contraction leads to a sustained rise in inflation, even though monetary policy actively targets inflation and fiscal policy passively adjusts taxes to stabilize debt. If the central bank targets the riskfree rate, on the other hand, the same transitory monetary contraction keeps inflation under control but leads output to contract for a prolonged period of time. The comparison shows that sovereign default risk puts into sharp relief the tradeoff between inflation and output stabilization.

Suggested Citation

  • Huixin Bi & Eric M. Leeper & Campbell Leith, 2018. "Sovereign Default and Monetary Policy Tradeoffs," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 14(3), pages 289-324, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2018:q:2:a:6
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    Cited by:

    1. Battistini, Niccolò & Callegari, Giovanni & Zavalloni, Luca, 2019. "Dynamic fiscal limits and monetary-fiscal policy interactions," Working Paper Series 2268, European Central Bank.
    2. Javier Andrés & Pablo Burriel & Wenyi Shen, 2020. "Debt sustainability and fiscal space in a heterogeneous Monetary Union: normal times vs the zero lower bound," Working Papers 2001, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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