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Monetary and Fiscal Policies in Times of Large Debt: Unity is Strength

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  • Francesco Bianchi
  • Renato Faccini
  • Leonardo Melosi

Abstract

The COVID pandemic found policymakers facing constraints on their ability to react to an exceptionally large negative shock. The current low interest rate environment limits the tools the central bank can use to stabilize the economy, while the large public debt curtails the efficacy of fiscal interventions by inducing expectations of costly fiscal adjustments. Against this background, we study the implications of a coordinated fiscal and monetary strategy aiming at creating a controlled rise of inflation to wear away a targeted fraction of debt. Under this coordinated strategy, the fiscal authority introduces an emergency budget with no provisions on how it will be balanced, while the monetary authority tolerates a temporary increase in inflation to accommodate the emergency budget. In our model the coordinated strategy enhances the efficacy of the fiscal stimulus planned in response to the COVID pandemic and allows the Federal Reserve to correct a prolonged period of below-target inflation. The strategy results in only moderate levels of inflation by separating long-run fiscal sustainability from a short-run policy intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Bianchi & Renato Faccini & Leonardo Melosi, 2020. "Monetary and Fiscal Policies in Times of Large Debt: Unity is Strength," NBER Working Papers 27112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27112
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Economic policy > Money and monetary policy

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    Cited by:

    1. Ettmeier, Stephanie & Kriwoluzky, Alexander, 2019. "Active, or passive? Revisiting the role of fiscal policy in the Great Inflation," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203609, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • 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

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