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The inflation risk premium on government debt in an overlapping generations model

  • Michael Hatcher

This paper presents a general equilibrium model in which nominal government debt pays an inflation risk premium. The model predicts that the inflation risk premium will be higher in economies which are exposed to unanticipated inflation through nominal asset holdings. In particular, the inflation risk premium is higher when government debt is primarily nominal, steady-state inflation is low, and when cash and nominal debt account for a large fraction of consumers’ retirement portfolios. These channels do not appear to have been highlighted in previous models or tested empirically. Numerical results suggest that the inflation risk premium is comparable in magnitude to standard representative agent models. These findings have implications for management of government debt, since the inflation risk premium makes it more costly for governments to borrow using nominal rather than indexed debt. Simulations of an extended model with Epstein-Zin preferences suggest that increasing the share of indexed debt would enable governments to permanently lower taxes by an amount that is quantitatively non-trivial.

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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2013_17.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2013_17
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  18. Joseph G. Haubrich & George Pennacchi & Peter Ritchken, 2008. "Estimating real and nominal term structures using Treasury yields, inflation, inflation forecasts, and inflation swap rates," Working Paper 0810, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  19. Andreasen, Martin M., 2012. "An estimated DSGE model: Explaining variation in nominal term premia, real term premia, and inflation risk premia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1656-1674.
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