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Optimal inflation targeting under alternative fiscal regimes

  • Pierpaolo Benigno

    ()

    (New York University - Department of Economics)

  • Michael Woodford

    ()

    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

Flexible inflation targeting has been advocated as a practical approach to the implementation of an optimal state-contingent monetary policy, but theoretical expositions reaching this conclusion have typically abstracted from the fiscal consequences of monetary policy. Here we extend the standard theory by considering the character of optimal monetary policy under a variety of assumptions about the fiscal regime, with the standard analysis appearing only as a special case in which non-distorting sources of government revenue exist, and fiscal policy can be relied upon to adjust so as to ensure intertemporal government solvency. Alternative cases treated in this paper assume that there exist only distorting sources of government revenue; that it may not be possible for tax rates to adjust in response to economic disturbances, except with delay; or even that fiscal policy is purely exogenous, so that the central bank cannot rely upon fiscal policy to adjust in order to maintain intertemporal solvency (a case emphasized in the critique of inflation targeting by Sims, 2005). We find that the fiscal policy regime has important consequences for the optimal conduct of monetary policy, but that a suitably modifed form of inflation targeting will still represent a useful approach to the implementation of optimal policy. We derive an optimal targeting rule for monetary policy that applies to all of the fiscal regimes considered in this paper, and show that it involves commitment to an explicit target for an output-gap adjusted price level. The optimal policy will allow temporary departures from the long-run target rate of growth in the gap-adjusted price level in response to disturbances that affect the government's budget, but it will also involve a commitment to rapidly restore the projected growth rate of this variable to its normal level following such disturbances, so that medium-term inflation expectations should remain firmly anchored despite the occurrence of fiscal shocks.

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File URL: http://www.econ.columbia.edu/RePEc/pdf/DP0506-09.pdf
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Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0506-09.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0506-09
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  1. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000384, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Christopher A. Sims, 2001. "Fiscal consequences for Mexico of adopting the dollar," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 597-625.
  3. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern97-1, December.
  7. Michael Woodford & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," 2004 Meeting Papers 481, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Isabel Correia & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2002. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: equivalence results," Working Paper Series WP-02-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," NBER Working Papers 5797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. George-Marios Angeletos, 2002. "Fiscal Policy With Noncontingent Debt And The Optimal Maturity Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1105-1131, August.
  12. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: II. Applications," NBER Working Papers 9420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Arminio Fraga & Ilan Goldfajn & André Minella, 2003. "Inflation Targeting in Emerging Market Economies," Working Papers Series 76, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
  14. Buera, Francisco & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 2004. "Optimal maturity of government debt without state contingent bonds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 531-554, April.
  15. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," International Finance Discussion Papers 806, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, 2006. "Financial Markets Incompleteness and Inequality Over the Life-Cycle," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 405, Central Bank of Chile.
  17. M. H. Khalil Timamy, 2005. "Debate," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(104-105), pages 383-393, June.
  18. King, Mervyn, 1997. "Changes in UK monetary policy: Rules and discretion in practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 81-97, June.
  19. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  21. Levin, Andrew T. & Natalucci, Fabio M. & Piger, Jeremy M., 2004. "Explicit inflation objectives and macroeconomic outcomes," Working Paper Series 0383, European Central Bank.
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