IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/10078.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment

Author

Listed:
  • Hilscher, Jens
  • Raviv, Alon
  • Reis, Ricardo

Abstract

We propose and implement a method that provides quantitative estimates of the extent to which higher-than-expected inflation can lower the real value of outstanding government debt. Looking forward, we derive a formula for the debt burden that relies on detailed information about debt maturity and claimholders, and that uses option prices to construct risk-adjusted probability distributions for inflation at different horizons. The estimates suggest that it is unlikely that inflation will lower the US fiscal burden significantly, and that the effect of higher inflation is modest for plausible counterfactuals. If instead inflation is combined with financial repression that ex post extends the maturity of the debt, then the reduction in value can be significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Hilscher, Jens & Raviv, Alon & Reis, Ricardo, 2014. "Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment," CEPR Discussion Papers 10078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10078
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10078
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Elisa Faraglia & Albert Marcet & Rigas Oikonomou & Andrew Scott, 2013. "The Impact of Debt Levels and Debt Maturity on Inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 164-192, February.
    2. Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi, 2017. "Escaping the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1030-1058, April.
    3. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 2019. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 52(4), pages 505-525.
    4. Dimitri Vayanos & Jean‐Luc Vila, 2021. "A Preferred‐Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(1), pages 77-112, January.
    5. Kitsul, Yuriy & Wright, Jonathan H., 2013. "The economics of options-implied inflation probability density functions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 696-711.
    6. Ait-Sahalia, Yacine & Lo, Andrew W., 2000. "Nonparametric risk management and implied risk aversion," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 9-51.
    7. Missale, Alessandro & Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1994. "The Debt Burden and Debt Maturity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 309-319, March.
    8. Davig, Troy & Leeper, Eric M. & Walker, Todd B., 2011. "Inflation and the fiscal limit," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 31-47, January.
    9. Campbell, John Y, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-179, March.
    10. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 215-268, November.
    11. George J. Hall & Thomas J. Sargent, 2011. "Interest Rate Risk and Other Determinants of Post-WWII US Government Debt/GDP Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 192-214, July.
    12. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Public Debt Overhangs: Advanced-Economy Episodes since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 69-86, Summer.
    13. Hess Chung & Eric Leeper, 2007. "What Has Financed Government Debt?," CAEPR Working Papers 2007-015, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Department of Economics, Indiana University Bloomington.
    14. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Preface," MPRA Paper 17451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
    16. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
    17. Mats Persson & Torsten Persson & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2006. "Time Consistency of Fiscal and Monetary Policy: A Solution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 193-212, January.
    18. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters, in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton University Press.
    19. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    20. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2006. "Inflation and the Redistribution of Nominal Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1069-1097, December.
    21. Woodford, Michael, 2010. "Optimal Monetary Stabilization Policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 14, pages 723-828, Elsevier.
    22. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly-Chapter 1," MPRA Paper 17452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Del Negro, Marco & Sims, Christopher A., 2015. "When does a central bank׳s balance sheet require fiscal support?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-19.
    24. Campa, Jose M. & Chang, P. H. Kevin & Reider, Robert L., 1998. "Implied exchange rate distributions: evidence from OTC option markets1," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 117-160, February.
    25. Henning Bohn, 2011. "The Economic Consequences of Rising U.S. Government Debt: Privileges at Risk," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 67(3), pages 282-302, September.
    26. Jackwerth, Jens Carsten & Rubinstein, Mark, 1996. "Recovering Probability Distributions from Option Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1611-1632, December.
    27. Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes & Pierre Yared, 2017. "Optimal Time-Consistent Government Debt Maturity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(1), pages 55-102.
    28. Bhupinder Bahra, 1997. "Implied risk-neutral probability density functions from option prices: theory and application," Bank of England working papers 66, Bank of England.
    29. Fisher, Lawrence & Weil, Roman L, 1971. "Coping with the Risk of Interest-Rate Fluctuations: Returns to Bondholders from Naive and Optimal Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(4), pages 408-431, October.
    30. Cochrane, John H., 2011. "Understanding policy in the great recession: Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 2-30, January.
    31. Antje Berndt & Hanno Lustig & Şevin Yeltekin, 2012. "How Does the US Government Finance Fiscal Shocks?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 69-104, January.
    32. Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), 2010. "Handbook of Monetary Economics," Handbook of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    33. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
    34. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Emmanuel Farhi & Gita Gopinath, 2013. "Crisis and Commitment: Inflation Credibility and the Vulnerability to Sovereign Debt Crises," Working Papers 2013-4, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    35. Breeden, Douglas T & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1978. "Prices of State-contingent Claims Implicit in Option Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 621-651, October.
    36. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2011. "Using inflation to erode the US public debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 524-541.
    37. Eric M. Leeper & Xuan Zhou, 2013. "Inflation's Role in Optimal Monetary-Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 19686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. Michael U. Krause & Stéphane Moyen, 2016. "Public Debt and Changing Inflation Targets," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 142-176, October.
    39. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Jonathan H. Wright, 2010. "The TIPS Yield Curve and Inflation Compensation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 70-92, January.
    40. Olivier Blanchard & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Paolo Mauro, 2010. "Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(s1), pages 199-215, September.
    41. Christopher A. Sims, 1982. "Policy Analysis with Econometric Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 107-164.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Leeper, E.M. & Leith, C., 2016. "Understanding Inflation as a Joint Monetary–Fiscal Phenomenon," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2305-2415, Elsevier.
    2. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Reinhart, Vincent & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2015. "Dealing with debt," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 43-55.
    3. Equiza-Goñi, Juan, 2016. "Government debt maturity and debt dynamics in euro area countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 292-311.
    4. Howard Kung & Gonzalo Morales & Alexandre Corhay, 2017. "Fiscal Discount Rates and Debt Maturity," 2017 Meeting Papers 840, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Franziska L. Ohnsorge & Kenneth S. Rogoff & M. Ayhan Kose, 2022. "The Aftermath of Debt Surges," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 14(1), pages 637-663, August.
    6. Limodio,Nicola & Strobbe,Francesco, 2016. "Financial regulation and government revenue : the effects of a policy change in Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7733, The World Bank.
    7. Juan Equiza Goni, 2014. "Sovereign Debt Maturity and Debt-to GDP Dynamics in Six Euro Area Countries," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-44, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Nicola Limodio, 2015. "The Development Impact of Financial Regulation: Evidence from Ethiopia and Antebellum USA," 2015 Meeting Papers 355, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Fatás, Antonio & Ghosh, Atish & Panizza, Ugo & Presbitero, Andrea, 2019. "The Motives to Borrow," CEPR Discussion Papers 13735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Ichiro Fukunaga & Takuji Komatsuzaki & Hideaki Matsuoka, 2022. "Inflation and public debt reversals in advanced economies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 124-137, January.
    11. Mr. Ariel J Binder & Mr. Takuji Komatsuzaki & Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, 2014. "Inflation and Public Debt Reversals in the G7 Countries," IMF Working Papers 2014/096, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Sewon Hur & Illenin O. Kondo & Fabrizio Perri, 2018. "Real Interest Rates, Inflation, and Default," Staff Report 574, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    13. Tyler Muir, 2017. "Financial Crises and Risk Premia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(2), pages 765-809.
    14. Claudio Borio, 2011. "Rediscovering the Macroeconomic Roots of Financial Stability Policy: Journey, Challenges, and a Way Forward," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 87-117, December.
    15. Michael U. Krause & Stéphane Moyen, 2016. "Public Debt and Changing Inflation Targets," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 142-176, October.
    16. Panizza, Ugo & Presbitero, Andrea F., 2014. "Public debt and economic growth: Is there a causal effect?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 21-41.
    17. Yutaka KURIHARA, 2015. "Debt and Economic Growth: The Case of Japan," Journal of Economics Library, KSP Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 45-52, June.
    18. Lorenzo Esposito & Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2019. "Defaultnomics: Making Sense of the Barro-Ricardo Equivalence in a Financialized World," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_933, Levy Economics Institute.
    19. Scheer, Alexander, 2015. "Debt consolidation with long-term debt," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112874, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    20. repec:sgm:jbfeuw:v:2:y:2015:i:4:p:13 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Can Gao & Ian W. R. Martin, 2021. "Volatility, Valuation Ratios, and Bubbles: An Empirical Measure of Market Sentiment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 76(6), pages 3211-3254, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    copulas; inflation options; maturity of government debt; required reserves;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E64 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Incomes Policy; Price Policy
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10078. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.