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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. Easterly, William & Mauro, Paolo & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1992. "Money demand and seignorage - maximizing inflation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1049, The World Bank.
  2. Catao, Luis A.V. & Terrones, Marco E., 2005. "Fiscal deficits and inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 529-554, April.
  3. Cukierman, Alex & Edwards, Sebastian & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 537-55, June.
  4. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  8. Woo, Jaejoon, 2003. "Economic, political, and institutional determinants of public deficits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 387-426, March.
  9. Albanesi, Stefania, 2002. "Inflation and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3470, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Aizenman, Joshua, 1992. "Competitive Externalities and the Optimal Seigniorage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 61-71, February.
  11. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Bunzel, Helle & Haslag, Joseph, 2003. "The Non-Monotonic Relationship Between Seigniorage and Inequality," Staff General Research Papers 10252, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Stanley Fischer & Ratna Sahay & Carlos A. Vegh, 2002. "Modern Hyper- and High Inflations," NBER Working Papers 8930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B, 1995. "Political Influence on the Central Bank: International Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(3), pages 397-423, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Beetsma, Roel & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1992. "Does Inequality Cause Inflation? The Political Economy of Inflation, Taxation and Government Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 741, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
  18. Click, Reid W, 1998. "Seigniorage in a Cross-Section of Countries," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 154-71, May.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Woo, Jaejoon, 2005. "Social polarization, fiscal instability and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1451-1477, August.
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