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Learning the fiscal theory of the price level: some consequences of debt management policy

  • Stefano Eusepi
  • Bruce Preston

This paper examines how the scale and composition of public debt can affect economies that implement a combination of “passive” monetary policy and “active” fiscal policy. This policy configuration is argued to be of both historical and contemporary interest in the cases of the U.S. and Japanese economies. It is shown that higher average levels and moderate average maturities of debt can induce macroeconomic instability under a range of policies specified as simple rules. However, interest rate pegs in combination with active fiscal policies almost always ensure macroeconomic stability. This finding suggests that in periods where the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is a relevant constraint on policy design, a switch in fiscal regime is desirable.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 515.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:515
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  1. Branch, William A. & Davig, Troy & McGough, Bruce, 2013. "Adaptive Learning In Regime-Switching Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(05), pages 998-1022, July.
  2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2002. "Policy Interaction, Learning and the Fiscal Theory of Prices," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2002-17, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 07 Jun 2007.
  4. Preston, Bruce, 2008. "Adaptive learning and the use of forecasts in monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 3661-3681, November.
  5. Bruce Preston, 2003. "Learning about monetary policy rules when long-horizon expectations matter," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2003-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Francesco Bianchi, 2010. "Regime Switches, Agents' Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," Working Papers 10-39, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2010. "Central Bank Communication and Expectations Stabilization," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 235-71, July.
  8. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2003. "Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 807-824.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
  10. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Convergence of Least-Squares Learning in Environments with Hidden State Variables and Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1306-22, December.
  11. Preston, Bruce, 2006. "Adaptive learning, forecast-based instrument rules and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 507-535, April.
  12. Bruce Preston & Stefano Eusepi, 2011. "The maturity structure of debt, monetary policy and expectations stabilization," 2011 Meeting Papers 1287, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2007. "Fluctuating Macro Policies and the Fiscal Theory," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 247-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  15. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  16. Kaushik Mitra & James Bullard, . "Learning About Monetary Policy Rules," Discussion Papers 00/41, Department of Economics, University of York.
  17. Woodford, Michael, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 669-728, August.
  18. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
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