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Debt, Cash Flow and Inflation Incentives: A Swedish Example

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  • Persson, Mats
  • Persson, Torsten
  • Svensson, Lars E O

Abstract

The fiscal gains from, and hence the political incentives for, an increase in the inflation rate of ten percentage points may be substantial: Swedish data from 1994 suggests an annual real flow of 3–4% of GDP, or a capitalized value of nearly 100% of GDP. These gains would have arisen mainly from the nominalistic features of the tax and transfer systems rather than from the traditional sources: seignorage and real depreciation of public debt. The welfare costs of such an inflation increase would have been even larger, however, and would thus have reduced net welfare. Possible institutional reforms, aimed at making the political costs of inflation more equal to the social costs, are presented and discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Persson, Mats & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Debt, Cash Flow and Inflation Incentives: A Swedish Example," CEPR Discussion Papers 1488, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1488
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    Cited by:

    1. Gábor P. Kiss, 2007. "Pain or Gain? Short-term Budgetary Effects of Surprise Inflation - the Case of Hungary," MNB Occasional Papers 2007/61, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    2. Ernesto Talvi & Carlos A. Vegh, 2000. "Tax Base Variability and Procyclical Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Matthias Doepke, "undated". "Inflation as a Redistribution Shock: Effects on Aggregates and Welfare," UCLA Economics Online Papers 412, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1998. "International Experiences With Different Monetary Policy Regimes," Seminar Papers 648, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    5. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    6. 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.
    7. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2006. "Government finance in the wake of currency crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 401-440, April.
    8. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Mackowiak, Bartosz, 2006. "Fiscal imbalances and the dynamics of currency crises," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1317-1338, July.
    9. Lindbeck, A., 1998. "Swedish Lessons for Post-Socialist Countries," Papers 645, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    10. 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.
    11. Césaire A. Meh & Yaz Terajima, 2011. "Inflation, nominal portfolios, and wealth redistribution in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1369-1402, November.
    12. Alessandro Missale & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Public Debt Management in Brazil," Development Working Papers 178, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    13. Vincent Touze, 2005. "Les performances de l'économie suédoise depuis 1970 : quelques éléments d'évaluation," Working Papers hal-00972782, HAL.
    14. Jonsson, Magnus & Klein, Paul, 2003. "Tax distortions in Sweden and the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 711-729, August.
    15. Mackowiak, Bartosz, 2007. "Macroeconomic regime switches and speculative attacks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 3321-3347, October.
    16. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia1, 2015. "The liquidation of government debt," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(82), pages 291-333.
    17. Matthias Doepke & Martin Schneider, 2005. "Real effects of inflation through the redistribution of nominal wealth," Staff Report 355, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    18. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2011. "Using inflation to erode the US public debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 524-541.
    19. Vincent Touzé, 2007. "Les performances économiques de la Suède. Quelques éléments d'évaluation," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 100(1), pages 31-84.
    20. Liu, X, 2010. "Is Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Small Open Economy Time Consistent?," MPRA Paper 28781, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Athanasios Papadopoulos & Giuseppe Diana & Moise Sidiropoulos, 2005. "Central Bank Reform and Inflation Dynamics in the Transition Economies theory and some evidence," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 58, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    22. Taylor, John B., 1999. "The robustness and efficiency of monetary policy rules as guidelines for interest rate setting by the European central bank," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 655-679, June.
    23. Talvi, Ernesto & Vegh, Carlos A., 2005. "Tax base variability and procyclical fiscal policy in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 156-190, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gains from Trade; Inflation; Inflation Costs; Public Debt;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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