The Comeback of Inflation as an Optimal Public Finance Tool
22 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 18, 2013
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 scale 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.
Keywords: trend ination, monetary and fiscal policy, Ramsey plan
JEL Classification: E52, E58, J51, E24.
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