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Sovereign Default and Monetary Policy Tradeoffs

Huixin Bi (), Eric Leeper () and Campbell Leith ()

No RWP 18-2, Research Working Paper from Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Abstract: The paper is organized around the following question: when the economy moves from a debt-GDP level where the probability of default is nil to a higher level?the ?fiscal limit?? where the default probability is non-negligible, how do the effects of routine monetary operations designed to achieve macroeconomic stabilization change? We find that the specification of the monetary policy rule plays a critical role. Consider a central bank that targets the risky rate. When the economy is near its fiscal limit, a transitory monetary policy contraction leads to a sustained rise in inflation, even though monetary policy actively targets inflation and fiscal policy passively adjusts taxes to stabilize debt. If the central bank targets the risk-free rate, on the other hand, the same transitory monetary contraction keeps inflation under control, but leads output to contract for a prolonged period of time. The comparison shows that sovereign default risk put into sharp relief the tradeoff between inflation and output stabilization.

Keywords: Sovereign Debt Default; Fiscal Sustainability; Fiscal Limit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H60 H30 E62 E30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2018-03-02, Revised 2018-03-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cba, nep-mac and nep-mon
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