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Nominal debt as a burden on monetary policy

  • Javier Díaz-Giménez
  • Giorgia Giovannetti
  • Ramon Marimon
  • Pedro Teles

We study the effects of nominal debt on the optimal sequential choice of monetary and debt policy. When the stock of debt is nominal, the incentive to generate unanticipated inflation increases the cost of the outstanding debt even if no unanticipated inflation episodes occur in equilibrium. Without full commitment, the optimal sequential policy is to deplete the outstanding stock of debt progressively until these extra costs disappear. Nominal debt is therefore a burden on monetary policy, not only because it must be serviced, but also because it creates a time inconsistency problem that distorts interest rates. The introduction of alternative forms of taxation may lessen this burden, if there is enough commitment to fiscal policy.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-04-10.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-04-10
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  1. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2004. "Nominal debt as a burden on monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-04-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. 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, 01.
  3. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 519-39, August.
  4. Pablo Andres Neumeyer & Fernando Alvarez & Pat Kehoe, 2003. "The Time Consistency of Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Department of Economics Working Papers 005, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  5. Ramon Marimon & Juan Pablo Nicolini & Pedro Teles, 2003. "Inside-outside money competition," Working Paper Series WP-03-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Fernando Martin, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Government Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(4), pages 608-631, October.
  7. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  9. Ellison, Martin & Rankin, Neil, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy when lump-sum taxes are unavailable: A reconsideration of the outcomes under commitment and discretion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-243, January.
  10. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1988. "Servicing the Public Debt: The Role of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 647-61, September.
  12. Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Money and Asset Prices in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 919-44, October.
  13. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1997. "Dynamic Seigniorage Theory," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(03), pages 588-614, September.
  14. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  15. Catarina Reis, 2007. "Taxation without Commitment," 2007 Meeting Papers 470, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Juan P. Nicolini, 1993. "More on the time inconsistency of optimal monetary policy," Economics Working Papers 56, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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