Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Finance

No 2005-1: Fiscal Policy and Welfare under Different Exchange Rate Regimes

Finn Østrup
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Finn Østrup: Department of Finance, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Department of Finance, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3, A5, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: The article analyses how government spending is determined under different exchange rate regimes in the context of a small open economy. Assuming nominal wage contracts which last for one period and assuming a benevolent government which determines government spending to optimise a representative individual’s utility, it is demonstrated that there are differences between exchange rate regimes with respect to the level of government spending. These differences arise first because a rise in government spending affects macroeconomic variables differently under different exchange rate regimes, and second because the government’s inclination to expand government spending is affected by inflation which depends on the exchange rate regime. At low rates of inflation, the government is inclined to set a higher level of government spending under a fixed exchange rate regime than under a floating exchange rate regime in which the monetary authority optimises preferences which include an employment target and an inflation target. As government spending affects the representative individual’s utility, the choice of exchange rate regime has an impact on welfare.

Keywords: exchange rate regimes; fiscal policy; monetary union; inflation targeting

JEL-codes: E42; E61; E62; F33

26 pages, May 19, 2005

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