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The Backing of Government Debt and the Price Level

  • CASTRO, Rui
  • RESENDE, Carlos
  • RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco J.

This paper studies the interdependence between fiscal and monetary policies, and their joint role in the determination of the price level. The government is characterized by a long-run fiscal policy rule whereby a given fraction of the outstanding debt, say d, is backed by the present discounted value of current and future primary surpluses. The remaining debt is backed by seigniorage revenue. The parameter d characterizes the interdependence between fiscal and monetary authorities. It is shown that in a standard monetary economy, this policy rule implies that the price level depends not only on the money stock, but also on the proportion of debt that is backed with money. Empirical estimates of d are obtained for OECD countries using data on nominal consumption, monetary base, and debt. Results indicate that debt plays only a minor role in the determination of the price level in these economies. Estimates of d correlate well with institutional measures of central bank independence.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/511
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Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2003-22.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2003-22
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  2. Rao Aiyagari, S. & Gertler, Mark, 1985. "The backing of government bonds and monetarism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 19-44, July.
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  7. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "Long-term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 6771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 1997. "Lag Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 369, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2000.
  17. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
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  19. Stanley Fischer & Ratna Sahay & Carlos A. Végh Gramont, 2002. "Modern Hyper- and High Inflations," IMF Working Papers 02/197, International Monetary Fund.
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  23. 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.
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