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Optimal Inflation Targeting under Alternative Fiscal Regimes

In: Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting

  • Pierpaolo Benigno

    (Einaudi Institute for Economic and Finance)

  • Michael Woodford

    (Columbia University)

Standard discussions of flexible inflation targeting as an optimal monetary policy abstract completely from the consequences of monetary policy for the government budget. But at least some of the countries now adopting inflation targeting have substantial difficulty in controlling fiscal imbalances, so that the additional strains resulting from strict control of inflation are of substantial concern, and some (notably Sims 2005) have argued that inflation targeting can even be counterproductive under some fiscal regimes. Here, therefore, we analyze welfare-maximizing monetary policy taking explicit account of the consequences of monetary policy for the government budget, and under a variety of assumptions about the nature of the fiscal regime. The paper contrasts the optimal monetary policies under three alternative assumptions about fiscal policy: (i) the case in which little distortion is required to raise additional government revenue, and the fiscal authority can be relied upon to ensure intertemporal government solvency [the implicit assumption in standard analyses]; (ii) the case in which only distorting sources of revenue exist, but distorting taxes are adjusted optimally; and (iii) the case in which tax rates cannot be expected to change in response to a change in monetary policy [the problematic case emphasized by Sims]. In both of cases (ii) and (iii), it is optimal for monetary policy to allow the inflation rate to respond to fiscal developments (and the optimal responses to other shocks are somewhat different than in the classic analysis, which assumes case (I)). Nonetheless, optimal monetary policy can still be implemented through a form of flexible inflation targeting, and it remains critical, even in the most pessimistic case (case (iii)), that inflation expectations (beyond some very short horizon) not be allowed to vary in response to shocks.

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This chapter was published in: Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.) Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting, , chapter 3, pages 037-075, 2007.
This item is provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series with number v11c03pp037-075.
Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v11c03pp037-075
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  1. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
  3. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  4. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1997. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," Seminar Papers 615, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  5. Arminio Fraga & Ilan Goldfajn & Andre Minella, 2003. "Inflation Targeting in Emerging Market Economies," NBER Working Papers 10019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: II. Applications," NBER Working Papers 9420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," International Finance Discussion Papers 806, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  9. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern97-1, June.
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  12. Christopher A. Sims, 2001. "Fiscal consequences for Mexico of adopting the dollar," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 597-625.
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  14. Isabel Correia & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2008. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Equivalence Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 141-170, 02.
  15. M. H. Khalil Timamy, 2005. "Debate," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(104-105), pages 383-393, June.
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  17. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  18. Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, 2006. "Financial Markets Incompleteness and Inequality Over the Life-Cycle," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 405, Central Bank of Chile.
  19. King, Mervyn, 1997. "Changes in UK monetary policy: Rules and discretion in practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 81-97, June.
  20. Levin, Andrew T. & Natalucci, Fabio M. & Piger, Jeremy M., 2004. "Explicit inflation objectives and macroeconomic outcomes," Working Paper Series 0383, European Central Bank.
  21. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy With Noncontingent Debt And The Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131, August.
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