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Distortionary fiscal policy and monetary policy goals

  • Adam, Klaus
  • Billi, Roberto M

We study interactions between monetary policy, which sets nominal interest rates, and fiscal policy, which levies distortionary income taxes to finance public goods, in a standard, sticky-price economy with monopolistic competition. Policymakers' inability to commit in advance to future policies gives rise to excessive inflation and excessive public spending, resulting in welfare losses equivalent to several percent of consumption each period. We show how appointing a conservative monetary authority, which dislikes inflation more than society does, can considerably reduce these welfare losse and that optimally the monetary authority is predominatly concerned about inflation. Full conservatism, i.e., exclusive concern about inflation, entirely eliminates the welfare losses from discretionary monetary and fiscal policymaking, provided monetary policy is determined after fiscal policy each period. Full conservatism, however, is severely suboptimal when monetary policy is determined simultaneously with fiscal policy or before fiscal policy each period.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7741.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7741
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  1. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2006. "Monetary Conservatism and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  3. Javier Días-Giménez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2006. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," Working Papers w200606, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  4. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Adam, Klaus, 2010. "Government Debt and Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8064, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  8. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  9. Niemann, Stefan, 2011. "Dynamic monetary–fiscal interactions and the role of monetary conservatism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 234-247.
  10. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium, I: Observable Actions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1799, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. 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 473-91, June.
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