Quarterly Review 2342

Explaining the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level

Narayana Kocherlakota | Consultant
Christopher Phelan | Consultant

Fall 1999

Many traditional macroeconomic models do not have determinate predictions for the path of inflation: even for a given specification of money supplies, many paths of inflation are consistent with equilibrium. According to the fiscal theory of the price level, fiscal policy can be used to select which of these many paths actually occur. This article explains the fiscal theory of the price level and discusses its empirical and policy implications. The article argues that the theory is equivalent to giving the government an ability to choose among equilibria.

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