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Equilibrium and government commitment

  • Marco Bassetto

How should a government use the power to commit to ensure a desirable equilibrium outcome? In this paper, I show a misleading aspect of what has become a standard approach to this question, and I propose an alternative. I show that the complete description of an optimal (indeed, of any) policy scheme requires outlining the consequences of paths that are often neglected. The specification of policy along those paths is crucial in determining which schemes implement a unique equilibrium and which ones leave room for multiple equilibria that depend on the expectations of the private sector.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 624.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Publication status: Published in Published In: Journal of Economic Theory> (Vol. 124, No. 1, September 2005, pp. 79-105)
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:624
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  1. Stokey, Nancy L., 1991. "Credible public policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 627-656, October.
  2. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  3. 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.
  4. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  5. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1991. "Endogenous Price Fluctuations in an Optimizing Model of a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1617-31, November.
  6. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, June.
  7. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christiano, Lawrence J. & G. Harrison, Sharon, 1999. "Chaos, sunspots and automatic stabilizers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 3-31, August.
  9. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
  10. Cole, Harold L & Kehoe, Timothy J, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116, January.
  11. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  12. Alesina, A. & Prati, A. & Tabellini, G., 1989. "Public Confidence And Debt Management: A Model And A Case Study Of Italy," Papers 5, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  13. Morris, S & Song Shin, H, 1996. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," Economics Papers 126, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  14. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
  15. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. 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, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  17. Carlsson, Hans & van Damme, Eric, 1993. "Global Games and Equilibrium Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 989-1018, September.
  18. Eaton, Jonathan, 1987. "Public Debt Guarantees and Private Capital Flight," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(3), pages 377-95, May.
  19. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1990. "Sunspot equilibria (rational bubbles) in a model of money-in-the-utility-function," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 137-144, January.
  20. 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.
  21. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521570176 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1993. "Sustainable Plans and Mutual Default," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 175-95, January.
  23. Marco Bassetto, 2000. "A Game-Theoretic View of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1492, Econometric Society.
  24. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521578967 is not listed on IDEAS
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