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The Backing of Government Debt and the Price Level

  • CASTRO, Rui
  • De RESENDE, Carlos
  • RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco

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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Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 16-2003.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:16-2003
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