IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The fallacy of the fiscal theory of the price level, again

  • Willem H. Buiter

This paper argues that the 'fiscal theory of the price level' (FTPL) is fallacious. The source of the fallacy is an elementary economic misspecification. The FTPL denies a fundamental property of any model of a market economy, that the budget constraint of any agent, private or public, must be satisfied identically, ie for all admissible values of the variables entering the budget constraint. Instead the FTPL requires the government's inter-temporal budget constraint to be satisfied only in equilibrium. The FTPL looks for equilibria in which the government can meet its contractual debt obligations exactly, despite having an overdetermined financial-fiscal monetary programme. The economic misspecification has implications for the mathematical properties of the equilibria supported by models that impose the structure of the FTPL. For example, the FTPL implies the anomaly that it can price money in an economy without money. The FTPL has an exact analogue in a 'household budget constraint theory of the price level', which is perhaps more readily recognised as a nonsense.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/workingpapers/2001/wp141.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 141.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:141
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Group Bank of England Threadneedle Street London EC2R 8AH
Phone: +44 (0)171 601 4030
Fax: +44 (0)171 601 5196
Web page: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Willem H. Buiter, 1985. "A Fiscal Theory of Hyperdeflations? Some Surprising Monetarist Arithmetic," NBER Technical Working Papers 0052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," CRSP working papers 479, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  5. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1986. "Ruling out divergent speculative bubbles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 349-362, May.
  6. 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, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  7. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 1983. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," Scholarly Articles 12491027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Seminar Papers 632, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  9. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
  10. Bennett T. McCallum, 1998. "Indeterminacy, Bubbles, and the Fiscal Theory of Price Level Determination," NBER Working Papers 6456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Norbert Janssen & Charles Nolan & Ryland Thomas, 2004. "Money, Debt and Prices in the UK 1705-1996," CDMA Working Paper Series 200407, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  12. Buiter, Willem H., 1998. "The Young Person's Guide to Neutrality, Price Level Indeterminacy, Interest Rate Pegs and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 1799, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1982. "Interest rates and currency prices in a two-country world," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 335-359.
  14. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2001. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1221-1238, December.
  15. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
  17. Cochrane, John H, 2001. "Long-Term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 69-116, January.
  18. John H. Cochrane, 2000. "Money as Stock: Price Level Determination with no Money Demand," NBER Working Papers 7498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  20. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:141. 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: (Publications Team)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.