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Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy with Sticky Prices

Опубликовано на портале: 31-10-2007
Journal of Monetary Economics. 2004.  Vol. 51. No. 3. P. 575–607. 
In this paper I consider the role of state-contingent inflation as a fiscal shock absorber in an economy with nominal rigidities. I study the Ramsey equilibrium in a monetary model with distortionary taxation, nominal non-state-contingent debt, and sticky prices. With sticky prices, the Ramsey planner must balance the shock absorbing benefits of state-contingent inflation against the associated resource misallocation costs. For government spending processes resembling post-war experience, introducing sticky prices generates striking departures in optimal policy from the case with flexible prices. For even small degrees of price rigidity, optimal policy displays very little volatility in inflation. Tax rates display greater volatility compared to the model with flexible prices. With sticky prices, tax rates and real government debt exhibit behavior similar to a random walk. For government spending processes resembling periods of intermittent war and peace, optimal policy displays extreme inflation volatility even when the degree of price rigidity is large. As the variability in government spending increases, smoothing tax distortions across states of nature becomes increasingly important, and the shock absorber role of inflation is accentuated.

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