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Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Debt Crisis and Management


  • Mr. Cristiano Cantore
  • Mr. Paul L Levine
  • Mr. Giovanni Melina
  • Joseph G Pearlman


The initial government debt-to-GDP ratio and the government’s commitment play a pivotal role in determining the welfare-optimal speed of fiscal consolidation in the management of a debt crisis. Under commitment, for low or moderate initial government debt-to-GPD ratios, the optimal consolidation is very slow. A faster pace is optimal when the economy starts from a high level of public debt implying high sovereign risk premia, unless these are suppressed via a bailout by official creditors. Under discretion, the cost of not being able to commit is reflected into a quick consolidation of government debt. Simple monetary-fiscal rules with passive fiscal policy, designed for an environment with “normal shocks”, perform reasonably well in mimicking the Ramsey-optimal response to one-off government debt shocks. When the government can issue also long-term bonds–under commitment–the optimal debt consolidation pace is slower than in the case of short-term bonds only, and entails an increase in the ratio between long and short-term bonds.

Suggested Citation

  • Mr. Cristiano Cantore & Mr. Paul L Levine & Mr. Giovanni Melina & Joseph G Pearlman, 2017. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Debt Crisis and Management," IMF Working Papers 2017/078, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:2017/078

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicoletta Batini & Mr. Giovanni Melina & Stefania Villa, 2016. "Fiscal Buffers, Private Debt, and Stagnation: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," IMF Working Papers 2016/104, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Ben-Gad, Michael & Pearlman, Joseph & Sabuga, Ivy, 2022. "An analysis of monetary and macroprudential policies in a DSGE model with reserve requirements and mortgage lending," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    3. Mr. Alessandro Cantelmo & Mr. Giovanni Melina, 2017. "Sectoral Labor Mobility and Optimal Monetary Policy," IMF Working Papers 2017/040, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Efrem Castelnuovo & Guay Lim, 2019. "What Do We Know About the Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Policy? A Brief Survey of the Literature on Fiscal Multipliers," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 52(1), pages 78-93, March.
    5. Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Varthalitis, Petros & Vassilatos, Vanghelis, 2017. "Fiscal consolidation and its cross-country effects," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 55-106.
    6. Burriel, Pablo & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Jacquinot, Pascal & Stähler, Nikolai & Schön, Matthias, 2020. "Economic consequences of high public debt: evidence from three large scale DSGE models," Working Paper Series 2450, European Central Bank.
    7. Batini, Nicoletta & Melina, Giovanni & Villa, Stefania, 2019. "Fiscal buffers, private debt, and recession: The good, the bad and the ugly," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    8. Kaufmann, Christoph & Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Hauptmeier, Sebastian, 2023. "Macroeconomic stabilisation properties of a euro area unemployment insurance scheme," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    9. Cardani, Roberta & Menna, Lorenzo & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2020. "The Optimal Policy Mix To Achieve Public Debt Consolidation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 113-129, January.
    10. Malmierca, María, 2023. "Optimal macroprudential and fiscal policy in a monetary union," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    11. Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Kamps, Christophe, 2022. "Debt policies in the aftermath of COVID-19 — The SGP’s debt benchmark revisited," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    12. Nicoletta Batini & Alessandro Cantelmo & Giovanni Melina & Stefania Villa, 2021. "How loose, how tight? A measure of monetary and fiscal stance for the euro area," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 1536-1556.
    13. Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Kamps, Christophe, 2020. "Debt rule design in theory and practice: the SGP’s debt benchmark revisited," Working Paper Series 2379, European Central Bank.

    More about this item


    WP; monetary policy; Optimal fiscal-monetary policy; debt consolidation; long-term debt; fiscal limits; government debt; GDP ratio; debt-deflating inflation volatility; GDP scenario; debt shock; Bonds; Debt management; Global;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy; Modern Monetary Theory
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt


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