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Optimal fiscal policy when agents fear government default

  • Francesco Caprioli

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Pietro Rizza

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Pietro Tommasino

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

We derive the optimal fiscal policy for a government that is committed to honoring its debt but faces investors which fear a sovereign default. We assume that investors are able to learn from new evidence, as in Marcet and Sargent (1989), so that they can gradually correct their overly pessimistic view about the government's creditworthiness. We show that in an economy with these features, contrary to the prescriptions of standard models, a frontloaded fiscal consolidation after an adverse fiscal shock is optimal.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 859.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_859_12
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  1. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2003. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3844, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lorenzo Codogno & Carlo Favero & Alessandro Missale, 2003. "Yield spreads on EMU government bonds," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 503-532, October.
  3. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2004. "When Can Changes in Expectations Cause Business Cycle Fluctuations in Neo-Classical Settings?," NBER Working Papers 10776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1994. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 617-52, August.
  6. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2008. "Expectations, Learning And Business Cycle Fluctuations," CAMA Working Papers 2008-20, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  7. Hiebert, Paul & Pérez, Javier J. & Rostagno, Massimo, 2002. "Debt reduction and automatic stabilisation," Working Paper Series 0189, European Central Bank.
  8. Marcet, A. & Nicolini, J.P., 1997. "Recurrent Hyperinflations and Learning," Papers 9721, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  9. Anastasios G. Karantounias with Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2009. "Managing expectations and fiscal policy," Working Paper 2009-29, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  10. Kydland, Finn E. & Prescott, Edward C., 1980. "Dynamic optimal taxation, rational expectations and optimal control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 79-91, May.
  11. Bohn, Henning, 1990. "Tax Smoothing with Financial Instruments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1217-30, December.
  12. Adam, Klaus, 2011. "Government debt and optimal monetary and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-74, January.
  13. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Andrew Scott, 1999. "Does Tax Smoothing Imply Smooth Taxes?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0429, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Bayoumi, Tamim & Goldstein, Morris & Woglom, Geoffrey, 1995. "Do Credit Markets Discipline Sovereign Borrowers? Evidence from the U.S. States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1046-59, November.
  16. Kurz, Mordecai & Jin, Hehui & Motolese, Maurizio, 2005. "The role of expectations in economic fluctuations and the efficacy of monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 2017-2065, November.
  17. Eva Carceles Poveda & Chryssi Giannitsarou, 2006. "Asset pricing with adaptive learning," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 25, Society for Computational Economics.
  18. Bayoumi, Tamim & Goldstein, Morris & Woglom, Geoffrey, 1995. "Do Credit Markets Discipline Sovereign Borrowers? Evidence from US States," CEPR Discussion Papers 1088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  21. Zhu, Xiaodong, 1992. "Optimal fiscal policy in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 250-289, December.
  22. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2006. "Learning and Stock Market Volatility," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 15, Society for Computational Economics.
  23. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  24. Adam, Klaus & Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2006. "Are hyperinflation paths learnable?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2725-2748, December.
  25. Edda Zoli & Silvia Sgherri, 2009. "Euro Area Sovereign Risk During the Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/222, International Monetary Fund.
  26. Eva Carceles-Poveda & Chryssi Giannitsarou, 2007. "Online Appendix to Asset Pricing with Adaptive Learning," Technical Appendices carceles08, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  27. repec:acb:camaaa:2008-20 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J., 2008. "The market price of risk and the equity premium: A legacy of the Great Depression?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 454-476, April.
  29. Robert J. Barro, 1995. "Optimal Debt Management," NBER Working Papers 5327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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