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Smoothing shocks and balancing budgets in a currency union

  • James Costain


    (Banco de España)

  • Beatriz de Blas

    (Universidad autónoma de Madrid)

We study simple fiscal rules for stabilizing the government debt level in response to asymmetric demand shocks in a country that belongs to a currency union. We compare debt stabilization through tax rate adjustments with debt stabilization through expenditure changes. While rapid and flexible adjustment of public expenditure might seem institutionally or informationally infeasible, we discuss one concrete way in which this might be implemented: setting salaries of public employees, and social transfers, in an alternative unit of account, and delegating the valuation of this numeraire to an independent fiscal authority. Using a sticky-price DSGE matching model of a small open economy in a currency union, we compare the business cycle implications of several different fiscal rules that all achieve the same reduction in the standard deviation of the public debt. In our simulations, compared with rules that adjust tax rates, a rule that stabilizes the budget by adjusting public salaries and transfers reduces fluctuations in consumption, employment, and private and public after-tax real wages, thus bringing the market economy closer to the social planner’s solution.

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Paper provided by Banco de Espa�a in its series Banco de Espa�a Working Papers with number 1207.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:1207
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  1. Costain, James & de Blas, Beatriz, 2012. "The role of fiscal delegation in a monetary union: a survey of the political economy issues," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2012/11, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  2. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2004. "Monetary policy and exchange rate volatility in a small open economy," Economics Working Papers 835, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Closing Small Open Economy Models," Departmental Working Papers 200115, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  4. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Meier, André & Müller, Gernot, 2009. "Fiscal Stimulus with spending reversals," CEPR Discussion Papers 7302, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Tatiana Kirsanova & Simon Wren‐Lewis, 2012. "Optimal Fiscal Feedback on Debt in an Economy with Nominal Rigidities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 238-264, 03.
  6. Mark Gertler & Luca Sala & Antonella Trigari, 2008. "An Estimated Monetary DSGE Model with Unemployment and Staggered Nominal Wage Bargaining," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1713-1764, December.
  7. Willem H. Buiter, 2007. "Is numérairology the future of monetary economics?: unbundling numéraire and medium of exchange through a virtual currency and a shadow exchange rate," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19759, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Fiscal Discipline and the Budget Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 401-07, May.
  9. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring Fiscal Expectations," NBER Working Papers 15269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Carlos Thomas, 2006. "Search and Matching Frictions and Optimal Monetary Policy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0743, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Pedro Gomes, 2011. "Fiscal policy and the labour market: the effects of public sector employment and wages," European Economy - Economic Papers 439, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  12. Charles Wyplosz, 2005. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 191(1), pages 64-78, January.
  13. Bruche, Max & Suarez, Javier, 2010. "Deposit insurance and money market freezes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 45-61, January.
  14. Xavier Debrun & David Hauner & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2009. "Independent Fiscal Agencies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 44-81, 02.
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