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Discretionary Policy in a Monetary Union with Sovereign Debt

  • Leith, Campbell
  • Wren-Lewis, Simon

This paper examines the interactions between multiple national fiscal policy- makers and a single monetary policy maker in response to shocks to government debt in some or all of the countries of a monetary union. We assume that national governments respond to excess debt in an optimal manner, but that they do not have access to a commitment technology. This implies that national fi scal policy gradually reduces debt: the lack of a commitment technology precludes a random walk in steady state debt, but the need to maintain national competitiveness avoids excessively rapid debt reduction. If the central bank can commit, it adjusts its policies only slightly in response to higher debt, allowing national fiscal policy to undertake most of the adjustment. However if it cannot commit, then optimal monetary policy involves using interest rates to rapidly reduce debt, with signifi cant welfare costs. We show that in these circumstances the central bank would do better to ignore national fiscal policies in formulating its policy.

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Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2010-74.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:203
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  1. Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-lewis, 2006. "Fiscal Sustainability in a New Keynesian Model," WEF Working Papers 0006, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
  2. Campbell leith & Jim Malley, 2002. "Estimated General Equilibrium Models for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy in the US and Europe," Working Papers 2001_16, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  3. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Giorgia Giovanetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," Working Papers 8, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2003. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," Working Papers 11, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  6. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," International Finance Discussion Papers 806, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Söderlind, Paul, 1998. "Solution and Estimation of RE Macromodels with Optimal Policy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 256, Stockholm School of Economics.
  8. Martin Ellison & Neil Rankin, 2005. " Optimal Monetary Policy When Lump-Sum Taxes Are Unavailable: A Reconsideration of the Outcomes under Commitment and Discretion," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0501, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  9. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2004. "Comparing shocks and frictions in US and euro area business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0391, European Central Bank.
  10. Leith, Campbell & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2009. "When is Monetary Policy All we Need?," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-25, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  11. Tatiana Kirsanova & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2009. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy Interaction: The Current Consensus Assignment in the Light of Recent Developments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages F482-F496, November.
  12. Tatiana Kirsanova & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2006. "Should Central Banks Target Consumer Prices or the Exchange Rate?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(512), pages F208-F231, 06.
  13. Ferrero, Andrea, 2009. "Fiscal and monetary rules for a currency union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 1-10, February.
  14. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert E & Diba, Behzad T, 2001. "Fiscal Discipline and Exchange Rate Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 667-90, October.
  15. Gilles Oudiz & Jeffrey Sachs, 1985. "International Policy Coordination in Dynamic Macroeconomic Models," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Policy Coordination, pages 274-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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