Sovereign Risk and the Effects of Fiscal Retrenchment in Deep Recessions
68 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 23, 2011
The authors analyze the effects of government spending cuts on economic activity in an environment of severe fiscal strain, as reflected by a sizeable risk premium on government debt. Specifically, they consider a 'sovereign risk channel,' through which sovereign default risk spills over to the rest of the economy, raising funding costs in the private sector. The authors' analysis is based on a variant of the model suggested by Cúrdia and Woodford (2009). It allows for costly financial intermediation and inter-household borrowing and lending in equilibrium, but maintains the tractability of the baseline New Keynesian model. They show that, if monetary policy is constrained in offsetting the effect of higher sovereign risk on private-sector borrowing conditions, the sovereign risk channel exacerbates indeterminacy problems: private-sector beliefs of a weakening economy can become self-fulfilling. Under these conditions, fiscal retrenchment can limit the risk of macroeconomic instability. In addition, if fiscal strain is very severe and monetary policy is constrained for an extended period, fiscal retrenchment may actually stimulate economic activity.
Keywords: fiscal consolidation, monetary policy, zero lower bound, risk premium, sovereign risk channel
JEL Classification: E62, E52, E32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation