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When is Monetary Policy All we Need?

  • Simon Wren-Lewis
  • Fabian Eser

We consider optimal monetary and fiscal policies in a New Keynesian model of a small open economy with sticky prices and wages. In this benchmark setting monetary policy is all we need - analytical results demonstrate that variations in government spending should play no role in the stabilization of shocks. In extensions we show, firstly, that this is even true when allowing for inflation inertia through backward-looking rule-of-thumb price and wage-setting, as long as there in no discrepancy between the private and social evaluation of the marginal rate of substitution between consumption and leisure. Secondly, the optimal neutrality of government spending is robust to the issuance of public debt. In the presence of debt government spending will deviate from the optimal steady-state but only to the extent required to cover the deficit, not to provide any additional macroeconomic stabilization. However, unlike government spending variations in tax rates can play a complementary role to monetary policy, as they change relative prices rather than demand.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 430.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:430
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  1. Simon Wren-Lewis & Campbell Leith, 2007. "Fiscal Sustainability in a New Keynesian Model," Economics Series Working Papers 310, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Gianluca Benigno & Bianca De Paoli, 2009. "On the International Dimension of Fiscal Policy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0905, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Galí, Jordi & Monacelli, Tommaso, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Tatiana Kirsanova & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2006. " Optimal Fiscal Feedback on Debt in an Economy with Nominal Rigidities," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0609, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  5. Kevin D. Sheedy, 2007. "Robustly optimal monetary policy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3737, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Leith, Campbell & Malley, Jim, 2005. "Estimated general equilibrium models for the evaluation of monetary policy in the US and Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2137-2159, November.
  7. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  8. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2004. "Optimal Simple and Implementable Monetary and Fiscal Rules," NBER Working Papers 10253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Leith, Campbell & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2002. "Compatibility Between Monetary and Fiscal Policy Under EMU," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 124, Royal Economic Society.
  10. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2005. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy in a currency union," Economics Working Papers 909, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2008.
  11. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Economics Working Papers 341, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. David A Vines & Sven Jari Stehn, 2007. "Debt Stabilization Bias and the Taylor Principle; Optimal Policy in a New Keynesian Model with Government Debt and Inflation Persistence," IMF Working Papers 07/206, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Tatiana Kirsanova & Mathan Satchi & David Vines & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2007. "Optimal Fiscal Policy Rules in a Monetary Union," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1759-1784, October.
  14. Jón Steinsson, 2000. "Optimal monetary policy in an economy with inflation persistence," Economics wp11, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
  15. Fabian Eser, 2009. "Optimal Fiscal Stabilisation through Government Spending," Economics Series Working Papers 2009-W14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  16. Morten O. Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2004. "Deep Habits," 2004 Meeting Papers 208, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2002. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy Under Sticky Prices," NBER Working Papers 9220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Sven Jari Stehn & David A Vines, 2008. "Strategic Interactions between an Independent Central Bank and a Myopic Government with Government Debt," IMF Working Papers 08/164, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Pontiggia, Dario, 2007. "Inflation persistence and optimal positive long-run inflation," MPRA Paper 3274, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Tatiana Kirsanova & Campbell Leith & Simon Wren-Lewis, 2006. "Should Central Banks Target Consumer Prices or the Exchange Rate?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(512), pages F208-F231, 06.
  21. Jordi Galí, 2007. "Constant interest rate projections without the curse of indeterminacy," Economics Working Papers 1057, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2008.
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