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The Non-Monotonic Relationship Between Seigniorage and Inequality

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  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep
  • Bunzel, Helle
  • Haslag, Joseph

Abstract

Central banks typically find it difficult to turn off the "political pressure valve". This has important consequences for the types of monetary policies they implement. This paper presents an analysis of how political factors may come into play in the equilibrium determination of inflation. We employ a standard overlapping generations model with heterogenous young-age endowments, and a government that funds an exogenous spending via a combination of nondistortionary income taxes and the inflation tax. Agents have access to two stores of value: fiat money and an inflation-shielded, yet costly, asset. The model predicts that the relationship between elected reliance on the inflation tax (for revenue) and income inequality is non-monotonic; in particular, the reliance on seigniorage may decrease as income inequality rises above a threshold. We find robust empirical backing for this hypothesis from a cross-section of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Bunzel, Helle & Haslag, Joseph, 2003. "The Non-Monotonic Relationship Between Seigniorage and Inequality," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10252, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:10252
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    13. Joydeep Bhattacharya & Joseph H. Haslag, 2001. "On the Use of the Inflation Tax When Nondistortionary Taxes Are Available," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(4), pages 823-841, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dressler, Scott, 2016. "A long-run, short-run, and politico-economic analysis of the welfare costs of inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 255-269.
    2. Scott J. Dressler, 2011. "A Long-Run, Short-Run and Politico-Economic Analysis of the Welfare Costs of Inflation," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 16, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
    3. David Aristei & Cristiano Perugini, 2014. "Speed and Sequencing of Transition Reforms and Income Inequality: A Panel Data Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(3), pages 542-570, September.
    4. Lahiri, Radhika & Ratnasiri, Shyama, 2010. "A political economy perspective on persistent inequality, inflation, and redistribution," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1199-1210, September.
    5. Lahiri, Radhika & Magnani, Elisabetta, 2012. "Endogenous skill heterogeneity and inflation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1745-1756.
    6. Aisen, Ari & Veiga, Francisco José, 2008. "The political economy of seigniorage," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 29-50, August.

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    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General

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