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The Young Person's Guide to Neutrality, Price Level Indeterminacy, Interest Rate Pegs, and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level

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  • Willem H. Buiter

Abstract

The paper establishes the following: First, money is neutral even if there is a non-zero stock of non-monetary nominal public debt, because the government adjusts real taxes to satisfy its intertemporal budget constraint. Second, Woodford's fiscal theory of the price level, according to which for certain fiscal rules the (initial) price level is independent of the nominal money stock, is invalid. It combines an overdetermined fiscal-financial program with an unwarranted weakening of the government's intertemporal budget constraint, requiring it to hold only in equilibrium, and only for arbitrarily restricted configurations of public spending, taxes and initial debt stocks. Third, there is price level determinacy under an exogenous nominal interest rate rule if the transactions technology has cash-in-advance features. The price level is hysteretic in this case. Finally, it is not possible to draw inferences about the historical process of technological improvements in the transactions technology leading to a cashless economy, by studying the limiting behavior, as a transactions efficiency index takes on successively higher values of a sequence of histories, each one of which is indexed for all time by a given level of efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Willem H. Buiter, 1998. "The Young Person's Guide to Neutrality, Price Level Indeterminacy, Interest Rate Pegs, and Fiscal Theories of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 6396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6396
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
    2. McCallum, Bennett T., 1986. "Some issues concerning interest rate pegging, price level determinacy, and the real bills doctrine," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 135-160, January.
    3. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System

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