Seigniorage, Operating Rules and the High Inflation Trap
NBER Working Paper No. 2413 (Also Reprint No. r1520)
A given amount of seigniorage revenue can be collected at either a high or a low rate of inflation. Thus there ray be two equilibria when a government finances its deficit by printing money--implying that an economy may be stuck in a high inflation equilibrium when, with the same fiscal policy, it could be at a lower inflation rate. We show that under rational expectations the high inflation equilibrium is stable and the low inflation equilibrium unstable; under adaptive expectations or lagged adjustment of money balances with rational expectations, it may be the low inflation equilibrium that is stable. Extending the model to allow for bond as well as money financing of deficits, we show that one of the equilibria disappears if the government sets a nominal anchor for the economy, for instance by fixing the growth rate of money. The dual equilibria and their stability.
Published: The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 104, No. 2, pp. 353-374, (May 1990).
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