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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. 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.
  2. James B. Bullard & Kaushik Mitra, 2002. "Learning about monetary policy rules," Working Papers 2000-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Bianchi, Francesco, 2008. "Regime switches, Agents’ Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," MPRA Paper 24251, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Jan 2010.
  4. Evans , George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2002. "Policy interaction, learning and the fiscal theory of prices," Research Discussion Papers 18/2002, Bank of Finland.
  5. Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2001. "Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2805, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
  7. Preston, Bruce, 2005. "Learning about Monetary Policy Rules when Long-Horizon Expectations Matter," MPRA Paper 830, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. 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.
  9. Preston, Bruce, 2006. "Adaptive learning, forecast-based instrument rules and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 507-535, April.
  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. 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.
  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. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2007. "Central Bank Communication and Expectations Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 13259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8072, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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