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Fiscal Dominance

Author

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  • Fernando M. Martin

Abstract

Who prevails when fiscal and monetary authorities disagree about the value of public expenditure and how much to discount the future? When the fiscal authority sets debt as its main policy instrument it achieves fiscal dominance, rendering the preferences of the central bank, and thus its independence, irrelevant. When the central bank sets the nominal interest rate it renders fiscal impatience (its debt bias) irrelevant, but still faces its expenditure bias. I find that the expenditure bias is about an order of magnitude more severe than the debt bias and has a major impact on welfare through higher public spending, while the effect on other policies is relatively minor. I also find that the central bank can do little to overcome the negative impact of the fiscal authority's expenditure bias, though there are still gains from properly designing the central bank.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando M. Martin, 2020. "Fiscal Dominance," Working Papers 2020-040, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:88992
    DOI: 10.20955/wp.2020.040
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
    4. Jean Barthélemy & Eric Mengus & Guillaume Plantin, "undated". "Public Liquidity Demand and Central Bank Independence," Working papers 747, Banque de France.
    5. Williamson, Stephen & Wright, Randall, 2010. "New Monetarist Economics: Models," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.),Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 25-96, Elsevier.
    6. Fernando M. Martin, 2019. "How to Starve the Beast: Fiscal Policy Rules," Working Papers 2019-026, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 14 Oct 2020.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    discretion; time-consistency; government debt; deficit; inflation; institutional design; political frictions;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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