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Dynamic Seigniorage Theory: An Exploration

  • Maurice Obstfeld and .

This paper shows that the optimal extraction of seigniorage implies a strong tendency for inflation to fall over time toward its socially optimal level. The point is made using a multi-period model in which (i) the government can finance deficits through bond issue or money creation, (ii) private-sector expectations are rational, and (iii) the government sets the inflation rate each period in a discretionary manner. One way to view the model is as a synthesis of the "tax-smoothing" theory of government deficits, which predicts that the inflation tax follows approximately a martingale, and of models of discretionary policy making, which predict (absent reputation effects) that inflation is likely to exceed its socially optimal level. Both predictions are modified when the two approaches to explaining inflation are merged. Reputation effects play no role in the analysis.

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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers with number C97-085.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1997
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Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbcd:c97-085
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  1. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1989. "Sustainable plans," Staff Report 122, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  3. Bohn, Henning, 1988. "Why do we have nominal government debt?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 127-140, January.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1982. "Speculative Hyperinflations in Maximizing Models: Can We Rule Them Out?," NBER Working Papers 0855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "The Optimal Collection of Seigniorage: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Grossman, Herschel I. & Van Huyck, John B., 1986. "Seigniorage, inflation, and reputation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 21-31, July.
  7. Brock, William A, 1974. "Money and Growth: The Case of Long Run Perfect Foresight," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(3), pages 750-77, October.
  8. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, I: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 549-69, May.
  9. Cohen, Daniel & Michel, Philippe, 1988. "How Should Control Theory Be Used to Calculate a Time-Consistent Government Policy?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 263-74, April.
  10. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
  12. Auernheimer, Leonardo, 1974. "The Honest Government's Guide to the Revenue from the Creation of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(3), pages 598-606, May/June.
  13. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1986. "Principles of fiscal and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 117-134, January.
  15. Marcus Miller & Mark Salmon, 1985. "Policy Coordination and Dynamic Games," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Policy Coordination, pages 184-227 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kiguel, Miguel A & Liviatan, Nissan, 1988. "Inflationary Rigidities and Orthodox Stabilization Policies: Lessons from Latin America," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 273-98, September.
  17. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1978. "Optimal seigniorage from money creation : An analysis in terms of the optimum balance of payments deficit problem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 503-517, August.
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