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Post-Thatcher Fiscal Strategies in the U.K.: An Interpretation

  • Andrew Hughes Hallett

Fiscal policy in Britain has changed radically since the Keynesianism of the 1960s and 1970s. After a passive period under monetarism of the 1980s, fiscal policy is said to have adopted a leadership role with long term objectives (low debt, the provision of public services/ investment, and social equity), together with an independent central bank. Monetary policy, operating with instrument independence, then takes care of short run stabilisation. I test this view – confronting it with evidence from the institutional arrangements put in place since 1997; with econometric evidence from the policy responses themselves; and with theoretical evidence on the incentive to choose such a regime in the first place. I conclude that this claim is broadly correct. It appears that the UK’s improved performance is a consequence of the advantages of combining fiscal leadership with an (instrument) independent central bank. The key feature is the ability to trade target (not instrument) independence in monetary policy to secure greater coordination between fiscal and monetary strategies.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1372.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1372
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  2. Hughes Hallett, Andrew & Weymark, Diana N., 2004. "Independent monetary policies and social equity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 103-110, October.
  3. Andrew Hallett & Nicola Viegi, 2002. "Inflation Targeting as a Coordination Device," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 341-362, October.
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  8. Gerdesmeier, Dieter & Roffia, Barbara, 2003. "Empirical estimates of reaction functions for the euro area," Working Paper Series 0206, European Central Bank.
  9. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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  11. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Franco, Daniele, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Seminarios y Conferencias 6567, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
  13. Brandsma, Andries S. & Hughes Hallett, A. J., 1984. "Economic conflict and the solution of dynamic games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 13-32.
  14. Gerlach, Stefan & Schnabel, Gert, 1999. "The Taylor Rule and Interest Rates in the EMU Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 2271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Hughes Hallett, A J, 1984. "Non-cooperative Strategies for Dynamic Policy Games and the Problem of Time Inconsistency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 381-99, November.
  16. A.J. Hallet, 1998. "When Do Target Zones Work? An Examination of Exchange Rate Targeting as a Device for Coordinating Economic Policies," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 115-138, April.
  17. Dixit, Avinash, 2001. "Games of monetary and fiscal interactions in the EMU," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 589-613, May.
  18. Avinash Dixit & Luisa Lambertini, 2003. "Interactions of Commitment and Discretion in Monetary and Fiscal Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1522-1542, December.
  19. Jordi GalÌ & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
  20. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2002. "Government Leadership and Central Bank Design," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0208, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Dec 2004.
  21. Buti, Marco, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34908, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
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