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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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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Bolton & Haizhou Huang, 2017. "The Capital Structure of Nations," NBER Working Papers 23612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ricardo Reis, 2019. "Central Banks Going Long," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Álvaro Aguirre & Markus Brunnermeier & Diego Saravia (ed.),Monetary Policy and Financial Stability: Transmission Mechanisms and Policy Implications, edition 1, volume 26, chapter 3, pages 043-081, Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Bletzinger, Tilman & von Thadden, Leopold, 2018. "Designing QE in a fiscally sound monetary union," Research Bulletin, European Central Bank, vol. 47.
    4. 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.
    5. Allen-Coghlan, Matthew & McQuinn, Kieran & Varthalitis, Petros, 2020. "Sovereign debt after COVID-19: How the involvement of the ECB can impact the recovery path of a Member State," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    6. Stan Olijslagers & Annelie Petersen & Nander de Vette & Sweder (S.J.G.) van Wijnbergen, 2018. "What Option Prices tell us about the ECB's Unconventional Monetary Policies," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-096/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Hollmayr, Josef & Kühl, Michael, 2019. "Monetary–fiscal interaction and quantitative easing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 200-207.
    8. Bletzinger, Tilman & von Thadden, Leopold, 2021. "Designing QE in a fiscally sound monetary union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    9. Williamson, Stephen D., 2019. "Interest on reserves, interbank lending, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 14-30.
    10. Bolton, Patrick & Huang, Haizhou, 2017. "The Capital Structure of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 12157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Jorge Silva, 2020. "Impact of public and private sector external debt on economic growth: the case of Portugal," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 10(4), pages 607-634, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    interest rates; monetary policy; Quantitative easing; Reserves;
    All these keywords.

    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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