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Fiscal Risk in a Monetary Union

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  • Betty Daniel
  • Christos Shiamptanis

Abstract

A country entering a monetary union gives up the right to determine its own monetary policy. Individual fiscal authorities promise passive fiscal policy, allowing the central monetary authority to use active monetary policy. Since a government, which can print its own money, can honor its nominal debt unconditionally, entrance into a monetary union raises new issues of potential fiscal insolvency. When there is an upper bound on the magnitude of the surplus and stochastic shocks to the surplus, a government can find itself in a position in which it cannot borrow to continue with its desired passive fiscal policy. This paper considers the risk of a fiscal financial crisis in a monetary union under alternative assumptions about how the fiscal authority would respond. The response affects the timing and probability of a crisis. We consider both outright default and policy switching, whereby the fiscal authority in crisis switches to active fiscal policy and the monetary authority switches to passive monetary policy. We apply the model to estimate fiscal risk in the European Monetary Union. Using panel estimates of the parameters in the surplus rule and initial values for government debt and the primary surplus, we simulate fiscal risk under the two alternative fiscal responses to a crisis. We find that countries with initial values bound by the Maastricht Treaty limits are safe, while countries like Italy and Greece, in which debt has strayed far above these limits, might not be.

Suggested Citation

  • Betty Daniel & Christos Shiamptanis, 2008. "Fiscal Risk in a Monetary Union," Discussion Papers 08-12, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nya:albaec:08-12
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • 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
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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