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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. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1991. "Endogenous Price Fluctuations in an Optimizing Model of a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1617-31, November.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Alessandro Prati & Guido Tabellini, 1989. "Public Confidence and Debt Management: A Model and A Case Study of Italy," NBER Working Papers 3135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Sharon G. Harrison, 1996. "Chaos, Sunspots, and Automatic Stabilizers," NBER Working Papers 5703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. 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.
  7. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  9. Carlsson, H. & van Damme, E.E.C., 1993. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Other publications TiSEM 49a54f00-dcec-4fc1-9488-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  10. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
  13. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1998. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Levine's Working Paper Archive 114, David K. Levine.
  14. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1997. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-fulfilling Currency Attacks," CEPR Discussion Papers 1687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. Eaton, Jonathan, 1987. "Public Debt Guarantees and Private Capital Flight," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(3), pages 377-95, May.
  18. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  19. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  20. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "A Game-Theoretic View of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2167-2195, November.
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  22. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521578967, Junio.
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  24. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521570176, Junio.
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