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Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy with Sticky Wages and Sticky Prices

  • Sanjay K. Chugh

    (Federal Reserve Board)

We determine the optimal degree of price inflation volatility when nominal wages are sticky and the government uses state-contingent inflation to finance government spending. We address this question in a well-understood Ramsey model of fiscal and monetary policy, in which the benevolent planner has access to labor income taxes, nominally risk-free debt, and money creation. Our main result is that sticky wages alone make price stability optimal in the face of government spending shocks, to a degree quantitatively similar as sticky prices alone. With productivity shocks also present, optimal inflation volatility is higher, but still dampened relative to the fully-flexible economy. Key for our results is an equilibrium restriction between nominal price inflation and nominal wage inflation that holds trivially in a Ramsey model featuring only sticky prices. A second important result is that the nominal interest rate can be used to indirectly tax the rents of monopolistic labor suppliers. Interestingly, a necessary condition for the ability to use the nominal interest rate for this purpose is positive producer profits. Taken together, our results uncover features of Ramsey fiscal and monetary policy in the presence of a type of labor market imperfection that is widely-believed to be important

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 with number 228.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecfa:228
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