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Can the Central Bank Alleviate Fiscal Burdens?

Listed author(s):
  • Ricardo Reis

Central banks affect the resources available to fiscal authorities through the impact of their policies on the public debt, as well as through their income, their mix of assets, their liabilities, and their own solvency. This paper inspects the ability of the central bank to alleviate the fiscal burden by influencing different terms in the government resource constraint. It discusses five channels: (i) how inflation can (and cannot) lower the real burden of the public debt, (ii) how seignorage is generated and subject to what constraints, (iii) whether central bank liabilities should count as public debt, (iv) how central bank assets create income risk, and whether or not this threatens its solvency, and (v) how the central bank balance sheet can be used for fiscal redistributions. Overall, it concludes that the scope for the central bank to lower the fiscal burden is limited.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23014.

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Date of creation: Dec 2016
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23014
Note: EFG ME PE
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  1. Stanley Fischer & Ratna Sahay & Carlos A. Végh, 2002. "Modern Hyper- and High Inflations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 837-880, September.
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  3. 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.
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  5. Jens Hilscher & Alon Raviv & Ricardo Reis, 2014. "Inflating Away the Public Debt? An Empirical Assessment," NBER Working Papers 20339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Ricardo Reis, 2016. "QE in the future: the central bank's balance sheet in a financial crisis," Discussion Papers 1620, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
  21. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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