IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/jeurec/v14y2016i6p1329-1371..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Mystery of the Printing Press: Monetary Policy and Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises

Author

Listed:
  • Giancarlo Corsetti
  • Luca Dedola

Abstract

We study the conditions under which unconventional (balance sheet) monetary policy can rule out self-fulfilling sovereign default in a model with optimizing but discretionary fiscal and monetary policymakers. When purchasing sovereign debt, the central bank effectively swaps risky government paper for monetary liabilities only exposed to inflation risk, thus yielding a lower interest rate. As central bank purchases reduce the (ex ante) costs of debt, we characterize a critical threshold beyond which, absent fundamental fiscal stress, the government strictly prefers primary surplus adjustment to default. Because default may still occur for fundamental reasons, however, the central bank faces the risk of losses on sovereign debt holdings, which may generate inefficient inflation. We show that these losses do not necessarily undermine the credibility of a backstop, nor the monetary authorities’ ability to pursue its inflation objectives. Backstops are credible if either the central bank enjoys fiscal backing or fiscal authorities are sufficiently averse to inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Giancarlo Corsetti & Luca Dedola, 2016. "The Mystery of the Printing Press: Monetary Policy and Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1329-1371.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:6:p:1329-1371.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12184
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harald Uhlig, 2011. "The dynamics of sovereign debt crises in a monetary union," 2011 Meeting Papers 482, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Roch, Francisco & Uhlig, Harald, 2018. "The dynamics of sovereign debt crises and bailouts," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-13.
    3. Tirole, Jean, 2012. "Country Solidarity, Private Sector Involvement and the Contagion of Sovereign Crises," IDEI Working Papers 761, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Sep 2012.
    4. Fernando Martin, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Government Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(4), pages 608-631, October.
    5. Jeanne, O., 2012. "Fiscal challenges to monetary dominance in the euro area: a theoretical perspective," Financial Stability Review, Banque de France, issue 16, pages 143-150, April.
    6. Robert J. Barro, 1983. "Inflationary Finance under Discretion and Rules," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 16(1), pages 1-16, February.
    7. Cohen, Daniel & Villemot, Sébastien, 2015. "Endogenous debt crises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 337-369.
    8. Philippe Bacchetta & Elena Perazzi & Eric van Wincoop, 2015. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises: Can Monetary Policy Really Help?," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 15.06, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    9. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    10. Uribe, Martin, 2006. "A fiscal theory of sovereign risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1857-1875, November.
    11. Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2008. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 493-514, July.
    12. Evans, Geroge W & Honkapohja, Seppo & Romer, Paul, 1998. "Growth Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 495-515, June.
    13. Chamon, Marcos, 2007. "Can debt crises be self-fulfilling?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 234-244, January.
    14. Robert E. Hall & Ricardo Reis, 2015. "Maintaining Central-Bank Financial Stability under New-Style Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 21173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. François R. Velde, 2007. "John Law's System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 276-279, May.
    16. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-661, September.
    17. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    18. Russell Cooper, 2012. "Debt Fragility and Bailouts," NBER Working Papers 18377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 381-399.
    20. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
    21. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-274, June.
    22. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
    23. Juan J. Cruces & Christoph Trebesch, 2013. "Sovereign Defaults: The Price of Haircuts," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 85-117, July.
    24. Goodfriend, Marvin, 2011. "Central banking in the credit turmoil: An assessment of Federal Reserve practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-12, January.
    25. Guido Lorenzoni & Ivan Werning, 2013. "Slow Moving Debt Crises," NBER Working Papers 19228, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Emmanuel Farhi & Gita Gopinath, 2013. "Crisis and Commitment: Inflation Credibility and the Vulnerability to Sovereign Debt Crises," NBER Working Papers 19516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Antoine Camous & Russell Cooper, 2014. "Monetary Policy and Debt Fragility," NBER Working Papers 20650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • 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
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:6:p:1329-1371.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Oxford University Press to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/eeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.