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Nominal versus Indexed Debt: A Quantitative Horse Race

Listed author(s):
  • Laura Alfaro
  • Fabio Kanczuk

The main arguments in favor and against nominal and indexed debt are the incentive to default through inflation versus hedging against unforeseen shocks. We model and calibrate these arguments to assess their quantitative importance. We use a dynamic equilibrium model with tax distortion, government outlays uncertainty, and contingent-debt service. Our framework also recognizes that contingent debt can be associated with incentive problems and lack of commitment. Thus, the benefits of unexpected inflation are tempered by higher interest rates. We obtain that costs from inflation more than offset the benefits from reducing tax distortions. We further discuss sustainability of nominal debt in developing (volatile) countries.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13131.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13131.

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Date of creation: May 2007
Publication status: published as Alfaro, Laura & Kanczuk, Fabio, 2010. "Nominal versus indexed debt: A quantitative horse race," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1706-1726, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13131
Note: IFM ME PE
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  1. Robert Barro, 2003. "Optimal Management of Indexed and Nominal Debt," CEMA Working Papers 496, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
  3. Stefania Albanesi & V.V.Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2002. "Expectation traps and monetary policy," Working Paper Series WP-02-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2007. "Debt Maturity: Is Long-Term Debt Optimal?," NBER Working Papers 13119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alfaro, Laura & Kanczuk, Fabio, 2005. "Sovereign debt as a contingent claim: a quantitative approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 297-314, March.
  7. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
  9. Martin Uribe & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2001. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under sticky prices," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun, pages -.
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  12. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
  13. Javier Días-Giménez & Giorgia Giovannetti & Ramon Marimon & Pedro Teles, 2006. "Nominal Debt as a Burden on Monetary Policy," Working Papers w200606, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  14. Grossman, Herschel I. & Han, Taejoon, 1999. "Sovereign debt and consumption smoothing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 149-158, August.
  15. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  16. V. V. Chari & Patrick E. Kehoe, 1990. "Sustainable Plans and Mutual Default," IMF Working Papers 90/22, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Harold L. Cole & Timothy J. Kehoe, 2000. "Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 91-116.
  18. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  19. Fabio Kanczuk, 2004. "Real Interest Rates and Brazilian Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 436-455, April.
  20. Herschel I. Grossman & John B. Van Huyck, 1985. "Sovereign Debt as a Contingent Claim: Excusable Default, Repudiation, and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 1673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  22. Guillermo A. Calvo & Pablo E. Guidotti, 1993. "On the Flexibility of Monetary Policy: The Case of the Optimal Inflation Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 667-687.
  23. Cole, Harold L & Dow, James & English, William B, 1995. "Default, Settlement, and Signalling: Lending Resumption in a Reputational Model of Sovereign Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 365-385, May.
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  29. Laura Alfaro & Fabio Kanczuk, 2007. "Optimal Reserve Management and Sovereign Debt," NBER Working Papers 13216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
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  33. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
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