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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. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Francisco Buera, 2002. "Optimal Maturity of Governement Debt without state contingent bonds," Department of Economics Working Papers 016, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  2. Arminio Fraga & Ilan Goldfajn & Andre Minella, 2003. "Inflation Targeting in Emerging Market Economies," NBER Working Papers 10019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Isabel Horta Correia & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Equivalence Results," Working Papers w200303, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
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  6. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  7. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," NBER Working Papers 10838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Christopher A. Sims, 2001. "Fiscal consequences for Mexico of adopting the dollar," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 597-625.
  11. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," NBER Working Papers 5797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Linear Quadratic Approach," NBER Working Papers 9905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, 2006. "Financial Markets Incompleteness and Inequality Over the Life-Cycle," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 405, Central Bank of Chile.
  15. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: II. Applications," NBER Working Papers 9420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern97-1, August.
  18. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  20. Levin, Andrew T. & Natalucci, Fabio M. & Piger, Jeremy M., 2004. "Explicit inflation objectives and macroeconomic outcomes," Working Paper Series 0383, European Central Bank.
  21. 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.
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