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Long-term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level


The fiscal theory says that the price level is determined by the ratio of nominal debt to the present value of real primary surpluses. The maturity structure of the debt matters in this theory. For example, it determines whether news of future deficits implies current inflation or future inflation, and the long-term debt allows the government to offset surplus shocks by ex-post devaluation. In the optimal policy, the government uses fiscal operations to smooth cyclical fiscal shocks. Since policy movements react to events rather than cause them, the optimal policy produces time series that are similar to U.S. time series.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago in its series CRSP working papers with number 478.

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Date of creation: Oct 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wop:chispw:478
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  1. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "A Frictionless View of U.S. Inflation," NBER Working Papers 6646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
  3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  4. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2001. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1221-1238, December.
  5. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  7. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
  8. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
  9. 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;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(3), pages 381-99.
  10. 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.
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