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Can the Central Bank Alleviate Fiscal Burdens?

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  • Reis, Ricardo

Abstract

Central banks affect the resources available to fiscal authorities through the impact of their policies on the public debt, as well as through their income, their mix of assets, their liabilities, and their own solvency. This paper inspects the ability of the central bank to alleviate the fiscal burden by influencing different terms in the government resource constraint. It discusses five channels: (i) how inflation can (and cannot) lower the real burden of the public debt, (ii) how seignorage is generated and subject to what constraints, (iii) whether central bank liabilities should count as public debt, (iv) how central bank assets create income risk, and whether or not this threatens its solvency, and (v) how the central bank balance sheet can be used for fiscal redistributions. Overall, it concludes that the scope for the central bank to lower the fiscal burden is limited.

Suggested Citation

  • Reis, Ricardo, 2017. "Can the Central Bank Alleviate Fiscal Burdens?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11736
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stanley Fischer & Ratna Sahay & Carlos A. Végh, 2002. "Modern Hyper- and High Inflations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 837-880, September.
    2. Reis, Ricardo, 2016. "Funding quantitative easing to target inflation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67883, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    4. Ricardo Reis, 2017. "QE in the Future: The Central Bank’s Balance Sheet in a Fiscal Crisis," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(1), pages 71-112, April.
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    6. Jens Hilscher & Alon Raviv & Ricardo Reis, 2014. "Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment," NBER Working Papers 20339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-274, June.
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    12. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2010. "Imperfect Information and Aggregate Supply," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 5, pages 183-229 Elsevier.
    13. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Nisticò, Salvatore, 2015. "Non-Neutrality of Open-Market Operations," CEPR Discussion Papers 10594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
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    17. Ricardo Reis, 2015. "Different Types of Central Bank Insolvency and the Central Role of Seignorage," NBER Working Papers 21226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Bolton & Haizhou Huang, 2017. "The Capital Structure of Nations," NBER Working Papers 23612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2018. "Friedman's Presidential Address in the Evolution of Macroeconomic Thought," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 81-96, Winter.
    3. Ricardo Reis, 2018. "Central Banks Going Long," Discussion Papers 1810, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    4. Bolton, Patrick & Huang, Haizhou, 2017. "The Capital Structure of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 12157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    interest rates; monetary policy; Quantitative easing; Reserves;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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