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The Welfare Implications of Fiscal Dominance

  • Carlos De Resende
  • Nooman Rebei

This paper studies the interdependence between fiscal and monetary policy in a DSGE model with sticky prices and non-zero trend inflation. We characterize the fiscal and monetary policies by a rule whereby a given fraction k of the government debt must be backed by the discounted value of current and future primary surpluses. The remaining fraction of debt is backed by seigniorage revenues. When k = 1, there is no fiscal dominance, since the fiscal authority backs all debt and accommodates (independent) monetary policy, by adjusting current or future primary surpluses to satisfy the government’s intertemporal budget constraint. If k = 0, all debt is backed by the monetary authority and there is complete fiscal dominance. A continuum of possibilities lies between these two polar cases. We numerically show that: 1) the degree of fiscal dominance, as measured by (1 - k), is positively related to trend inflation, and 2) when prices are sticky, k has significant effects on the business cycle dynamics. The model is estimated using Bayesian techniques. Estimates of k imply a high degree of fiscal dominance in both Mexico and South Korea, but almost no fiscal dominance in Canada and the U.S. The country-specific estimates of the structural parameters are used in a second-order approximation of the equilibrium around the deterministic steady-state to evaluate the welfare costs of fiscal dominance. Results suggest significant welfare losses for countries with high degrees of fiscal dominance.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 08-28.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:08-28
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  1. Michael Woodford, 1995. "Price Level Determinacy Without Control of a Monetary Aggregate," NBER Working Papers 5204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in a Medium-Scale Macroeconomic Model: Expanded Version," NBER Working Papers 11417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Uribe, Martin, 2006. "A fiscal theory of sovereign risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1857-1875, November.
  4. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
  5. Evan Tanner & Alberto M. Ramos, 2002. "Fiscal Sustainability and Monetary Versus Fiscal Dominance; Evidence From Brazil, 1991-2000," IMF Working Papers 02/5, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2004. "Optimal Operational Monetary Policy in the Christiano-Eichenbaum-Evans Model of the US Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 4654, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2001. "Inflation in Developing Countries: Does Central Bank Independence Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 511, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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