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Optimal and Time-Consistent Monetary and Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents


  • Albanesi, Stefania


This Paper studies the structure and time consistency of optimal monetary policy from a public finance perspective in an economy where agents differ in transaction patterns and asset holdings. I find that heterogeneity breaks the link between lack of government commitment and high inflation, which characterizes representative agent models of optimal fiscal and monetary policy. Even under commitment, it may be optimal to depart from Friedman’s rule for setting nominal interest rates. Moreover, optimal monetary and fiscal policies are time consistent. Time consistency does not require outstanding nominal claims on the government to be zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Albanesi, Stefania, 2003. "Optimal and Time-Consistent Monetary and Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 3713, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3713

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dirk Kreuger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Working Papers 02-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Chari, V. V. & Christiano, Lawrence J. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1996. "Optimality of the Friedman rule in economies with distorting taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 203-223, April.
    3. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "The optimum quantity of money," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1067-1152 Elsevier.
    4. Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "More on the time consistency of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 333-350, April.
    5. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    6. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    7. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
    8. Fernando Alvarez & Patrick J. Kehoe & Pablo Neumeyer, 2002. "The time consistency of monetary and fiscal policies," Working Papers 616, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    9. Rogers, Carol Ann, 1986. "The effect of distributive goals on the time inconsistency of optimal taxes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 251-269, March.
    10. Orazio P. Attanasio & Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2002. "The Demand for Money, Financial Innovation, and the Welfare Cost of Inflation: An Analysis with Household Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 317-351, April.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
    12. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "Expectation Traps and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 715-741.
    13. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Extensive Margins and the Demand for Money at Low Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 961-991, October.
    14. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "How severe is the time-inconsistency problem in monetary policy?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 17-33.
    15. Carlos E. da Costa & Iván Werning, 2008. "On the Optimality of the Friedman Rule with Heterogeneous Agents and Nonlinear Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 82-112, February.
    16. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Joseph Haslag & Antoine Martin & Rajesh Singh, 2008. "Who Is Afraid Of The Friedman Rule?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 113-130, April.
    2. Albanesi, Stefania, 2007. "Inflation and inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1088-1114, May.
    3. Timur Hulagu & Devrim Ikizler, 2010. "Effects of Monetary Unions on Inequalities (Para Birliklerinin Esitsizlikler Uzerindeki Etkileri)," Working Papers 1014, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
    4. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Joseph H. Haslag & Antoine Martin, 2005. "Heterogeneity, Redistribution, And The Friedman Rule," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 437-454, May.
    5. Francesco Salsano, 2005. "Monetary Policy in the Presence Of Imperfect Observability Of The Objectives Of Central Bankers," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0523, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    6. Stefania Albanesi, 2007. "Redistribution and Optimal Monetary Policy: Results and Open Questions," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 97(4), pages 3-48, July-Augu.

    More about this item


    heterogeneity; inflation; redistribution; time consistency;

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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    1. Quantitative Macroeconomics and Real Business Cycles (QM&RBC)


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