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Time inconsistency and free-riding in a monetary union

  • V. V. Chari
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

We analyze the setting of monetary and nonmonetary policies in monetary unions. We show that in these unions a time inconsistency problem in monetary policy leads to a novel type of free-rider problem in the setting of nonmonetary policies, such as labor market policy, fiscal policy, and bank regulation. The free-rider problem leads the union’s members to pursue lax nonmonetary policies that induce the monetary authority to generate high inflation. The free-rider problem can be mitigated by imposing constraints on the nonmonetary policies, like unionwide rules on labor market policy, debt constraints on members’ fiscal policy, and unionwide regulation of banks. When there is no time inconsistency problem, there is no free-rider problem, and constraints on nonmonetary policies are unnecessary and possibly harmful.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 308.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:308
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  1. Mariano Tommasi & Sebastian Saiegh & Pablo Sanguinetti, 2001. "Fiscal Federalism in Argentina: Policies, Politics, and Institutional Reform," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  2. von Hagen, Jurgen & Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Federalism, Fiscal Restraints, and European Monetary Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 134-38, May.
  3. Canzoneri, Matthew B. & Diba, Behzad T., 1991. "Fiscal deficits, financial integration, and a central bank for Europe," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 381-403, December.
  4. Sibert, Anne, 1992. "Government finance in a common currency area," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 567-578, December.
  5. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "International Coordination of Fiscal Policy in Limiting Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 617-36, June.
  6. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  7. Dixit, Avinash & Lambertini, Luisa, 2001. "Monetary-fiscal policy interactions and commitment versus discretion in a monetary union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 977-987, May.
  8. Buiter, Willem H. & Corsetti, Giancarlo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "`Excessive Deficits': Sense and Nonsense in the Treaty of Maastricht," CEPR Discussion Papers 750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott, 1988. "Time consistency and policy," Staff Report 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Giovannini, Alberto & Spaventa, Luigi, 1991. "Fiscal Rules in the European Monetary Union: A No-Entry Clause," CEPR Discussion Papers 516, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  12. Beetsma, Roel & Uhlig, Harald, 1999. "An Analysis of the Stability and Growth Pact," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 546-71, October.
  13. Uhlig, Harald, 2002. "One Money, but Many Fiscal Policies in Europe: What Are the Consequences?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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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