Ichiro Fukunaga, Mr. Takuji Komatsuzaki, and Hideaki Matsuoka
This paper quantitatively assesses the effects of inflation shocks on the public debt-to-GDP ratio in 19 advanced economies using simulation and estimation approaches. The simulations based on the debt dynamics equation and estimations of impulse responses by local projections both suggest that a 1 percentage point shock to inflation rate reduces the debt-to-GDP ratio by about 0.5 to 1 percentage points. The results also suggest that the impact is larger and more persistent when the debt maturity is longer, but the difference from the benchmark case is not significant. These results imply that modestly higher inflation, even if accompanied by some financial repression, could reduce public debt burden only marginally in many advanced economies.
Countries have adopted various institutional responses to subnational government borrowing. Using a sample of 44 countries 1982-2000, this paper provides a panel data analysis to determine the most effective borrowing constraints for containing local fiscal deficits. The results suggest that no single institutional arrangement is superior under all circumstances. The appropriateness of specific arrangements depends upon other institutional characteristics, particularly the degree of vertical fiscal imbalance, the existence of any bailout precedent, and the quality of fiscal reporting.
In the 1990s, transition countries underwent large adjustments to address fiscal imbalances. This paper examines whether the factors identified in the literature on advanced economies, the size and composition of adjustment, are important in transition economies. It finds that larger consolidations were more successful in addressing fiscal imbalances on a durable basis. Policies focusing on expenditure reductions were more successful than those relying on revenue increases. There is little evidence of expansionary fiscal contractions, but fiscal contractions did not have a significantly negative impact on growth either. Few fiscal stimuli succeeded in boosting growth.
The Baltic countries began their stabilization and reform process in earnest in mid-1992. During the first two and a half years of reform, these countries have made significant progress in macroeconomic stabilization. Financial policies were tight, inflation was brought down, and by 1994, the output decline had bottomed out and recovery was under way. The paper analyzes the key aspects of this adjustment process in a comparative framework. Apart from comparing the Baltic stabilization programs themselves, major features of their fiscal adjustment, price, and output stabilization are related to the Central European experience. Factors that could explain the good performance in the Baltic countries are suggested and key aspects of an adjustment process typical for an exchange-rate-based stabilization and money-based stabilization, respectively, are discussed. The paper argues that in light of the Baltic experience the credibility of stabilization policies has been of greater importance than the choice of the exchange rate regime per se. Moreover, the cost of disinflation in terms of lost output was limited and short lived.
The paper analyzes common issues emerging from the recent experience with Fund-supported programs in Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. These comprise the initial price-overshooting and the output collapse, fiscal sustainability as well as the financial and structural problems associated with bad loan portfolios and sluggish implementation of privatization programs. Substantial success, in varying degrees, has been achieved in the initial macro-stabilization and opening-up effort. At the same time mounting difficulties with fiscal and monetary control may be emerging, as a result of social and political pressures and insufficiently clear policy signals on the micro-issues involving the sharp structural transformation of the productive and financial systems.
It is widely feared that, once prices are decontrolled in the formerly centrally–planned economies, households’ release of previously accumulated money will trigger a hyperinflation. This paper finds, instead, that whether a country’s fiscal, monetary, and labor market policies are destabilizing typically does not depend on the money stock. However, the release of a monetary overhang can precipitate a large initial real wage shock. To the extent such a shock is not feasible politically, there is a motive for monetary reform, which must be weighed against the cost of reduced public confidence in money.