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The comeback of inflation as an optimal public finance tool

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  • Di Bartolomeo Giovanni
  • Acocella Nicola
  • Tirelli Patrizio

Abstract

We challenge the widely held belief that New-Keynesian models cannot predict optimal positive inflation rates. In fact these are justified by the Phelps argument that monetary financing can alleviate the burden of distortionary taxation. We obtain this result because, in contrast with previous contributions, our model accounts for public transfers as a component of fiscal outlays. We also contradict the view that the Ramsey policy should minimize inflation volatility and induce near-random walk dynamics of public debt in the long-run. In our model it should instead stabilize debt-to-GDP ratios in order to mitigate steady-state distortions. Our results thus provide theoretical support to policy-oriented analyses which call for a reversal of debt accumulated in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Acocella Nicola & Tirelli Patrizio, 2013. "The comeback of inflation as an optimal public finance tool," wp.comunite 0100, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ter:wpaper:0100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
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    6. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy: A Linear-Quadratic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 271-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2015. "U.S. Trend Inflation Reinterpreted: The Role Of Fiscal Policies And Time-Varying Nominal Rigidities," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(06), pages 1294-1308, September.
    2. Lorenzo Menna & Patrizio Tirelli, 2014. "Limited Asset Market Participation and the Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policies," Working Papers 284, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2014.
    3. Lorenzo Menna & Patrizio Tirelli, 2017. "Optimal inflation to reduce inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 79-94, March.
    4. Lorenzo Menna & Patrizio Tirelli, 2017. "Optimal inflation to reduce inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 24, pages 79-94, March.
    5. Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Tirelli Patrizio, 2016. "Public finance and the optimal inflation rate," wp.comunite 00128, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trend inflation; monetary and fiscal policy; Ramsey plan;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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