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Precautionary Monetary and Fiscal Policies

  • Pelin Berkmen
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    This paper explains why the debt reduction motive for countries that are subject to borrowing constraints and a volatile environment is greater than for those with a more stable environment and relatively better access to the financial markets. In particular, it shows that the possibility of losing the ability to borrow in the future induces precautionary debt reduction. When a government loses its ability to borrow, shocks are more costly to the economy, since they cannot be spread over time. The precautionary motive arises from the need to make these adjustments less painful when the borrowing constraints bind. To avoid large losses in the constrained period, the government prefers to raise taxes and inflation in earlier periods more than would be implied otherwise, leaving less debt to the future periods, and thereby shifting some of the required adjustment to the earlier periods. In other words, the coexistence of large shocks and borrowing constraints forces the government to be more prudent in its management of debt.

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    File URL: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=18853
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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/30.

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    Length: 27
    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/30
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    1. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," International Finance Discussion Papers 806, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 1996. "Optimal taxation without state-contingent debt," Economics Working Papers 170, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2001.
    3. Schmitt-Grohé, Stephanie & Uribe, Martín, 2001. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 2942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "Fiscal Dominance and Inflation Targeting: Lessons from Brazil," NBER Working Papers 10389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Siu, Henry E., 2004. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy with sticky prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 575-607, April.
    6. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
    7. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    8. Arminio Fraga & Ilan Goldfajn & André Minella, 2003. "Inflation Targeting in Emerging Market Economies," Working Papers Series 76, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    9. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
    10. repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    12. Marc Zelmer & Andrea Schaechter, 2000. "Adopting Inflation Targeting: Practical Issues for Emerging Market Countries," IMF Occasional Papers 202, International Monetary Fund.
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