IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6771.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Long-term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level

Author

Listed:
  • John H. Cochrane

Abstract

The fiscal theory says that the price level is determined by the ratio of nominal debt to the present value of real primary surpluses. I analyze long-term debt and optimal policy in the fiscal theory. I find that the maturity structure of the debt matters. For example, it determines whether news of future deficits implies current inflation or future inflation. When long term debt is present, the government can trade current inflation for future inflation by debt operations; this tradeoff is not present if the government rolls over short term debt. I solve for optimal debt policies to minimize the variance of inflation. I find cases in which long-term debt helps to stabilize inflation, and I find that the optimal inflation-stabilizing policy produces time series that are surprisingly similar to U.S. surplus and debt time series.

Suggested Citation

  • John H. Cochrane, 1998. "Long-term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 6771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6771
    Note: EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6771.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John H. Cochrane, 1999. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 323-421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Sims, Christopher A, 1994. "A Simple Model for Study of the Determination of the Price Level and the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 381-399.
    5. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-254, April.
    6. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
    7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-334, June.
    8. Michael Woodford, 1998. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," International Economic Association Series, in: Guillermo Calvo & Mervyn King (ed.), The Debt Burden and its Consequences for Monetary Policy, chapter 5, pages 117-158, Palgrave Macmillan.
    9. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2001. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1221-1238, December.
    10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Willem Buiter, 2000. "The Fallacy of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level, Again," CESifo Working Paper Series 303, CESifo.
    2. Willem H. Buiter, 2002. "The Fiscal Theory Of The Price Level: A Critique," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 459-480, July.
    3. Joanna Mackiewicz­‑Łyziak, 2014. "Wpływ długu publicznego na oczekiwania inflacyjne konsumentów w Europie," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 5, pages 113-132.
    4. Łyziak, Tomasz & Mackiewicz-Łyziak, Joanna, 2020. "Does fiscal stance affect inflation expectations? Evidence for European economies," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 296-310.
    5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2000. "Understanding the fiscal theory of the price level," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q II, pages 2-38.
    6. António Afonso, 2002. "Disturbing the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level: Can it Fit the EU-15," Working Papers Department of Economics 2002/01, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    7. Óscar J. Arce, 2005. "Reflections on fiscalist divergent price-paths," Working Papers 0533, Banco de España.
    8. McCallum, Bennett T., 2001. "Indeterminacy, bubbles, and the fiscal theory of price level determination," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 19-30, February.
    9. Daniel, Betty C. & Shiamptanis, Christos, 2012. "Fiscal risk in a monetary union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1289-1309.
    10. Bajo-Rubio, Oscar & Díaz-Roldán, Carmen & Esteve, Vicente, 2009. "Deficit sustainability and inflation in EMU: An analysis from the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 525-539, December.
    11. Andreas Thams, 2006. "Fiscal Policy Effects in the European Union," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-016, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    12. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "Money as stock," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 501-528, April.
    13. Willem H. Buiter, 1999. "The Fallacy of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 7302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. John H. Cochrane, 2011. "Determinacy and Identification with Taylor Rules," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 565-615.
    15. Leith, Campbell & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2006. "Compatibility between monetary and fiscal policy under EMU," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1529-1556, August.
    16. Bennett T. Mccallum, 2003. "Is The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level Learnable?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(5), pages 634-649, November.
    17. Leeper, E.M. & Leith, C., 2016. "Understanding Inflation as a Joint Monetary–Fiscal Phenomenon," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2305-2415, Elsevier.
    18. Leith, Campbell & Warren, Paul & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2003. "Fiscal policy, interest rate shocks and prices," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 361-382, March.
    19. Philip Arestis & Alexander Mihailov, 2011. "Classifying Monetary Economics: Fields And Methods From Past To Future," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 769-800, September.
    20. Chadha, J.S. & Nolan, C., 2003. "On the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0303, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6771. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.