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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. Alesina, Alberto F & Prati, Alessandro & Tabellini, Guido, 1989. "Public Confidence and Debt Management: A Model and a Case Study of Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 351, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
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  4. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1998. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," CFS Working Paper Series 1998/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  5. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  6. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
  7. 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.
  8. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J Kehoe, 1998. "Sustainable Plans," Levine's Working Paper Archive 600, David K. Levine.
  10. 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.
  11. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 1998. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Levine's Working Paper Archive 114, David K. Levine.
  12. Jonathan Eaton, 1987. "Public Debt Guarantees and Private Capital Flight," NBER Working Papers 2172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Sharon G. Harrison, 1996. "Chaos, sunspots, and automatic stabilizers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  14. V. V. Chari & Patrick E. Kehoe, 1990. "Sustainable Plans and Mutual Default," IMF Working Papers 90/22, International Monetary Fund.
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  16. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1988. "Endogenous Price Fluctuations in an Optimizing Model of Monetary Economy," Discussion Papers 825, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  17. Carlsson, H. & van Damme, E.E.C., 1993. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Other publications TiSEM 49a54f00-dcec-4fc1-9488-4, School of Economics and Management.
  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. 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.
  20. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-154416 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, August.
  24. 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.
  25. Stokey, Nancy L., 1991. "Credible public policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 627-656, October.
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