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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. 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.
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  10. 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.
  11. Persson, Mats & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 2005. "Time Consistency of Fiscal and Monetary Policy: A Solution," CEPR Discussion Papers 4941, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. 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.
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  16. 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.
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