IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Dormant Shocks and Fiscal Virtue

  • Leonardo Melosi

    (London Business School)

  • Francesco Bianchi

    (Duke University)

We develop a model in which the current behavior of the fiscal and monetary authorities influence agents' beliefs about the way debt will be stabilized. The standard policy mix consists of a virtuous fiscal authority that moves taxes in response to debt and a Central Bank that has full control over inflation. When policy makers deviate from this virtuous policy mix, agents conduct Bayesian learning to infer the likely duration of the deviation. As agents observe more and more deviations, they become increasingly pessimistic about a prompt return to the virtuous regime and inflation starts moving to keep debt on a stable path. Shocks which were dormant under the virtuous policy mix start now manifesting themselves. These changes are initially imperceptible, but they unfold over decades and accelerate as agents get convinced that the fiscal authority will not raise taxes. Dormant fiscal shocks can account for the run-up of inflation in the `70s and the deflationary pressure of the early 2000s. We point out that the currently low long term interest rates and inflation expectations might hide the true risk of inflation faced by the US economy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 44.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:44
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Leonardo Melosi, 2014. "Estimating Models with Dispersed Information," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-31, January.
  3. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Fluctuating Macro Policies and the Fiscal Theory," NBER Working Papers 11212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fabio Canova & Luca Gambetti, 2004. "On the Time Variations of US Monetary Policy: Who is right?," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2004 96, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  6. 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.
  7. Andrew Atkeson & V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2009. "Sophisticated monetary policies," Staff Report 419, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Marco Bassetto, 2002. "A Game-Theoretic View of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2167-2195, November.
  9. Leonardo Melosi & Francesco Bianchi, 2013. "Escaping the Great Recession," 2013 Meeting Papers 203, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Roger E. A. Farmer & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2010. "Minimal State Variable Solutions to Markov-switching Rational Expectations Models," Emory Economics 1003, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  11. Nimark, Kristoffer, 2008. "Dynamic pricing and imperfect common knowledge," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 365-382, March.
  12. Zheng Liu & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2009. "Sources of the Great Moderation: shocks, friction, or monetary policy?," Working Paper Series 2009-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. Chib, Siddhartha, 1996. "Calculating posterior distributions and modal estimates in Markov mixture models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 79-97, November.
  14. Francesco Bianchi, 2012. "Regime Switches, Agents’ Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," Working Papers 12-04, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  15. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2006. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," Caepr Working Papers 2006-001, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  16. Bianchi, Francesco & Melosi, Leonardo, 2014. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," Working Paper Series WP-2014-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Leonardo Melosi, 2013. "Modeling the Evolution of Expectations and Uncertainty in General Equilibrium," 2013 Meeting Papers 67, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Leonardo Melosi, 2013. "Signaling Effects of Monetary Policy," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  19. Del Negro, Marco & Eusepi, Stefano, 2011. "Fitting observed inflation expectations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2105-2131.
  20. Troy Davig & Taeyoung Doh, 2014. "Monetary Policy Regime Shifts and Inflation Persistence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 862-875, December.
  21. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1998. "Price Level Determinacy and Monetary Policy under a Balanced-Budget Requirement," Departmental Working Papers 199833, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  22. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation:An Alternative Interpretation," Working Papers 94, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  23. Frank Schorfheide, 2005. "Learning and Monetary Policy Shifts," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 392-419, April.
  24. Woodford, Michael, 2001. "Fiscal Requirements for Price Stability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 669-728, August.
  25. Giorgio Primiceri & Alejandro Justiniano, 2006. "The Time Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," 2006 Meeting Papers 353, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  26. Thomas J. Sargent & George J. Hall, 2010. "Interest rate risk and other determinants of post WWII U.S. government debt/GDP dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 208, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. Cochrane, John H., 2011. "Understanding policy in the great recession: Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 2-30, January.
  28. Thomas A. Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Testing for Indeterminacy: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 190-217, March.
  29. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  30. Bruce Preston & Stefano Eusepi, 2011. "The maturity structure of debt, monetary policy and expectations stabilization," 2011 Meeting Papers 1287, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  31. Michael Woodford, 1995. "Price Level Determinacy Without Control of a Monetary Aggregate," NBER Working Papers 5204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. 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.
  33. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  34. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  35. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  36. Francesco Bianchi, 2011. "Monetary/Fiscal Policy Mix and Agents' Beliefs," 2011 Meeting Papers 156, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  37. 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, vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed012:44. 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: (Christian Zimmermann)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.