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Inflation's Role in Optimal Monetary-Fiscal Policy

Author

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  • Eric M. Leeper
  • Xuan Zhou

Abstract

We study how the maturity structure of nominal government debt affects optimal monetary and fiscal policy decisions and equilibrium outcomes in the presence of distortionary taxes and sticky prices. Key findings are: (1) there is always a role for current and future inflation innovations to revalue government debt, reducing reliance on distorting taxes; (2) the role of inflation in optimal fiscal financing increases with the average maturity of government debt; (3) as average maturity rises, it is optimal to tradeoff inflation for output stabilization; (4) inflation is relatively more important as a fiscal shock absorber in high-debt than in low-debt economies; (5) in some calibrations that are relevant to U.S. data, welfare under the fully optimal monetary and fiscal policies can be made equivalent to the welfare under the conventional optimal monetary policy with passively adjusting lump-sum taxes by extending the average maturity of bond.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric M. Leeper & Xuan Zhou, 2013. "Inflation's Role in Optimal Monetary-Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 19686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19686
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tatiana Kirsanova & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2009. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy Interaction: The Current Consensus Assignment in the Light of Recent Developments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages 482-496, November.
    2. Tatiana Kirsanova & Simon Wren‐Lewis, 2012. "Optimal Fiscal Feedback on Debt in an Economy with Nominal Rigidities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 238-264, March.
    3. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Linear-Quadratic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 271-364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2018. "Fiscal Foundations of Inflation: Imperfect Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(9), pages 2551-2589, September.
    5. Bohn, Henning, 1990. "Tax Smoothing with Financial Instruments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1217-1230, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Reis, 2017. "QE in the Future: The Central Bank’s Balance Sheet in a Fiscal Crisis," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(1), pages 71-112, April.
    2. Michael U. Krause & Stéphane Moyen, 2016. "Public Debt and Changing Inflation Targets," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 142-176, October.
    3. Eric M Leeper & Campbell Leith & Ding Liu, 2016. "Optimal Time-Consistent Monetary, Fiscal and Debt Maturity Policy," Working Papers 2016_04, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    4. Howard Kung & Gonzalo Morales & Alexandre Corhay, 2017. "Fiscal Discount Rates and Debt Maturity," 2017 Meeting Papers 840, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2305 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hilscher, Jens & Raviv, Alon & Reis, Ricardo, 2014. "Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment," CEPR Discussion Papers 10078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. repec:eee:inecon:v:110:y:2018:i:c:p:119-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Aaron Hedlund, 2015. "Failure to Launch: Housing, Debt Overhang, and the Inflation Option During the Great Recession," Working Papers 1515, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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