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The Political Economy of Seigniorage

  • Ari Aisen
  • Francisco José Veiga

While most economists agree that seigniorage is one way governments finance deficits, there is less agreement about the political, institutional, and economic reasons for relying on it. This paper investigates the main determinants of seigniorage using panel data on about 100 countries, for the period 1960-1999. Estimates show that greater political instability leads to higher seigniorage, especially in developing, less democratic, and socially polarized countries, with high inflation, low access to domestic and external debt financing and with higher turnover of central bank presidents. One important policy implication of this study is the need to develop institutions conducive to greater economic freedom as a means to lower the reliance on seigniorage financing of public deficits.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/175.

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Length: 26
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/175
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  1. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Helle Bunzel & Joseph Haslag, 2005. "The non-monotonic relationship between seigniorage and inequality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 500-519, May.
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  6. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. " Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
  7. Easterly, William R & Mauro, Paolo & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1995. "Money Demand and Seigniorage-Maximizing Inflation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(2), pages 583-603, May.
  8. Stefania Albanesi, 2002. "Inflation and Inequality," Macroeconomics 0201002, EconWPA.
  9. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
  10. Alex Cukierman & Sebastian Edwards & Guido Tabellini, 1989. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," NBER Working Papers 3199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & van der Ploeg, F., 1992. "Does inequality cause inflation? : The political economy of inflation, taxation and government debt," Discussion Paper 1992-30, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Luis Catão & Marco Terrones, 2003. "Fiscal Deficits and Inflation," IMF Working Papers 03/65, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Click, Reid W., 2000. "Seigniorage and conventional taxation with multiple exogenous shocks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1447-1479, September.
  14. Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
  15. Aizenman, Joshua, 1992. "Competitive Externalities and the Optimal Seigniorage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 61-71, February.
  16. Woo, Jaejoon, 2005. "Social polarization, fiscal instability and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1451-1477, August.
  17. Aisen, Ari & Veiga, Francisco Jose, 2006. "Does Political Instability Lead to Higher Inflation? A Panel Data Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(5), pages 1379-1389, August.
  18. Carlos A. Végh, 1989. "Government Spending and Inflationary Finance: A Public Finance Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(3), pages 657-677, September.
  19. Eduardo Levy-Yeyati & Federico Sturzenegger, 2003. "To Float or to Fix: Evidence on the Impact of Exchange Rate Regimes on Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1173-1193, September.
  20. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  21. Woo, Jaejoon, 2003. "Economic, political, and institutional determinants of public deficits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 387-426, March.
  22. Desai, Raj M. & Olofsgard, Anders & Yousef, Tarik M., 2005. "Inflation and inequality: does political structure matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 41-46, April.
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