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The comeback of inflation as an optimal public finance tool

  • Giovanni Di Bartolomeo
  • Patrizio Tirelli
  • Nicola Acocella

We challenge the widely held belief that New-Keynesian models cannot predict optimal positive inflation rates. In fact these are justified by the Phelps argument that monetary fi nancing can alleviate the burden of distortionary taxation. We obtain this result because, in contrast with previous contributions, our model accounts for public transfers as a component of fi scal outlays. We also contradict the view that the Ramsey policy should minimize ination volatility and induce near-random walk dynamics of public debt in the long-run. In our model it should instead stabilize debt-to-GDP ratios in order to mitigate steady-state distortions. Our results thus provide theoretical support to policy-oriented analyses which call for a reversal of debt accumulated in the aftermath of the 2008 fi nancial crisis.

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File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper263.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 263.

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Length: 22
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision: Dec 2013
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:263
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  1. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Linear Quadratic Approach," NBER Working Papers 9905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sbordone, Argia, 1998. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: A New Test of Price Stickiness," Seminar Papers 653, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 11034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. S. Boragan Aruoba & Frank Schorfheide, 2009. "Sticky prices versus monetary frictions: an estimation of policy trade-offs," Working Papers 09-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Sarah Zubairy, 2014. "On Fiscal Multipliers: Estimates From A Medium Scale Dsge Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 169-195, 02.
  6. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy Marion, 2009. "Using Inflation to Erode the U.S. Public Debt," NBER Working Papers 15562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 825-860.
  8. Jorge Alonso-Ortiz & Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Taxes, transfers, and employment in an incomplete markets model," FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper 2010-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Vanghelis Vassilatos, 2007. "Rent-seeking competition from state coffers in a calibrated DSGE model of the euro area," Working Papers 2007_29, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  10. Timothy Cogley & Argia M. Sbordone, 2008. "Trend Inflation, Indexation, and Inflation Persistence in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2101-26, December.
  11. Caporale, Tony & McKiernan, Barbara, 1997. "High and variable inflation: Further evidence on the Friedman hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 65-68, January.
  12. Hyunseung Oh & Ricardo Reis, 2011. "Targeted Transfers and the Fiscal Response to the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 16775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Guido Ascari & Efrem Castelnuovo & Lorenza Rossi, 2010. "Calvo vs. Rotemberg in a Trend Inflation World: An Empirical Investigation," Quaderni di Dipartimento 108, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.
  14. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
  15. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  16. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2010. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models," Working Papers 91, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  17. Markus Knell & Helmut Stix, 2005. "The Income Elasticity of Money Demand: A Meta-Analysis of Empirical Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 513-533, 07.
  18. Angelopoulos, Konstantinos & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Vassilatos, Vanghelis, 2009. "The social cost of rent seeking in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 280-299, September.
  19. Guerron-Quintana, Pablo A., 2009. "Money demand heterogeneity and the great moderation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 255-266, March.
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