Research and Regimes • New monetary economics • Commitment • Rules (Taylor) • Fiscal theory • Regimes • Peg? • Currency board? • Dollarize? • Float? • Interest rate rule (Taylor)? • Exchange rate rule? • Banks lender of last resort? • Borrow domestic or foreign?
Price level shows up in two places Money demand Or (1) Phillips curve And “Gov’t budget constraint” (2) Foreign or indexed debt + Nominal debt/price level = PV of future primary surpluses Was: (1) drives P, (2) follows along. Now: (2) can drive P, (1) follows along. Especially for developing countries
Fiscal-dominant regime for price level (2) • Debt + # shares x price per share = E pv future earnings • Nominal debt (including currency) is like corporate equity. • Real (foreign, indexed) debt is like corporate debt. • If s declines: • Nominal debt (= equity): P rises • Real debt (= debt): Explicit default • (2) Is a valuation equation, can determine P from B,M,s, just like stock value. • Dramatic implications for monetary economics: • Passive M↔B (real bills), interest rate targets ok! • Price level ok even in a cashless, frictionless economy (M=0)! • Only government M, B matter. Private M (checks), foreign M (dollarized), private B (“liquidity”) do not matter for P. • Exchange rate reflects “faith in government,” not money stocks, and is volatile. • Inflation still feels like excess “aggregate demand” or “money chasing goods.”
Fiscal roots of inflation/devaluation Empirical example: 1997 Asia. Large prospective (not current) deficits led to crashes. Bad loans, governments will bail out banks. Can’t (won’t) raise taxes. →“Default’’ (via devaluation/inflation) on outstanding nominal debt. Source: Burnside, Eichenbaum, Rebelo JPE 2001 Fiscal roots: Could any open market operation (exchange money for nominal debt) have saved East Asia 1997, Russia 1998, Argentina 2002? IMF view. Note: danger of conventional accounting. Inflation tax not on books. Korea “paid” for bank crisis by devaluing won salaries. (BER 2002).
Monetary regimes Low High 1. Maximize inflation tax regime Primary surplus s = tax – spending + nominal interest x monetary base • Characteristics: • Own country fiat money (not dollarize, peg, gold standard, etc.) • Chronic high inflation • Legal restrictions to boost demand for base money • Currency controls, then trade controls (Hold M, not $) • Banking, finance, interest rate controls (Hold M, not bank deposits, stocks) • Anti- “hoarding”, “speculation” measures. (Hold M instead!) • Price controls, then quantity allocation • Occurs when tax < spending • Wars. (US too.) • Communist countries. • Developing countries. “Bad” (huge distortions), but … Must solve underlying fiscal problem to get away from it!
Monetary regimes Low High 2. Interest rate rules (Taylor) Characteristics: Fiat currency, floating exchange rate, large or closed economy. Advantage: 1. Can, in principle, smooth real shocks Difficulties: 1. (US) Must raise interest rate more than 1-1 with inflation -Even in bad times – tempted always to “fight recession” →Time consistency, rules, central bank independence, inflation targets,… 2. Theory a mess. Does it really stabilize inflation? 3. (Developing) Needs lots of fiscal slack. - Fiscal equation is still there, tax/spend (s) must adjust to follow P. - Example: Suppose central bank deflates. Treasury must raise taxes to pay off outstanding nominal debt! - Will not solve fiscal temptation to inflate (“default” on debt). - Not an option for countries with intractable fiscal problems Even if commitment problem is solved
Monetary regimes Low High 3. Exchange rate peg, currency board Peg: reserve crises, “speculative attack”? Currency board: all MB 100% backed by dollar assets. What could be safer? Absent primary surpluses s, board/peg must collapse sooner or later! Argentina: Explicit default on Bf, abrogate board to “default” on B,M. Reserves do not matter! The ability to borrow reserves (against future taxes) is all that matters! Good s? Can borrow reserves Bad s? Must eventually “Default” on M,B, grab reserves, even if 100%
Monetary regimes Low High 4. Dollarization Pro: 1. Hard to go back. 2. No money or nominal debt to devalue. → Solves commitment problem and fiscal temptation to inflate! 3. Use global standard units. Makes trade, capital much easier. Con: 1. (Traditional) Can’t offset real shocks. But…How many hyperinflations/crashes is this ability worth? “If depreciating the currency were the key to prosperity, Brazil would be the richest country in the world.” 2. (Fiscal -- Sims) No shock absorber. In trouble? Must explicitly default. Like a debt-only firm. Stock (nominal debt) is good! Optimal currency area depends on fiscal transfers. - US states. EU? Solution: Dollarize transactions (including clearing). “Government equity.” Reserve currency, or variable coupon debt. “Stock” advantages, dollarization advantages.
Monetary regimes Summary Low High Inflation tax Dollarize Board Peg Taylor rule • Money and nominal debt are like corporate equity. Foreign or real debt are like corporate debt. • 2. “Stock value” can drive inflation. Composition effects (money vs. nominal debt) under central bank control can be secondary. • 3. Fiscal considerations and “debt/equity” drive choice and structure of monetary regime!