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Fiscal foundations of inflation: imperfect knowledge

  • Stefano Eusepi
  • Bruce Preston

This paper proposes a theory of the fiscal foundations of inflation based on imperfect knowledge and learning. The theory is similar in spirit to, but distinct from, unpleasant monetarist arithmetic and the fiscal theory of the price level. Because the assumption of imperfect knowledge breaks Ricardian equivalence, details of fiscal policy, such as the average scale and composition of the public debt, matter for inflation. As a result, fiscal policy constrains the efficacy of monetary policy. Heavily indebted economies with debt maturity structures observed in many countries require aggressive monetary policy to anchor inflation expectations. The model predicts that the Great Moderation period would not have been so moderate had fiscal policy been characterized by a scale and composition of public debt now witnessed in some advanced economies in the aftermath of the 2007-09 global recession.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 649.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:649
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  1. Bruce Preston, 2005. "Learning about Monetary Policy Rules when Long-Horizon Expectations Matter," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), September.
  2. Thomas Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2002. "Testing for Indeterminacy:An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive 480, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2003.
  3. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2010. "Fortune or virtue: time-variant volatilities versus parameter drifting," Working Papers 10-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Slobodyan, Sergey & Wouters, Raf, 2012. "Learning in an estimated medium-scale DSGE model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 26-46.
  5. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja & Kaushik Mitra, 2010. "Does Ricardian Equivalence Hold When Expectations are not Rational?," CDMA Working Paper Series 201008, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  6. Francesco Bianchi, 2009. "Regime Switches, Agents’ Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," 2009 Meeting Papers 198, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," NBER Working Papers 11874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Macroeconomics 0510022, EconWPA.
  9. 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.
  10. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Stefano Eusepi & Marc Giannoni & Bruce Preston, 2012. "Long-term debt pricing and monetary policy transmission under imperfect knowledge," Staff Reports 547, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  13. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  14. Traum, Nora & Yang, Shu-Chun S., 2011. "Monetary and fiscal policy interactions in the post-war U.S," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 140-164, January.
  15. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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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