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Rational Expectations and Inflation$
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Thomas J. Sargent

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158709

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158709.001.0001

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Six Essays in Persuasion

Six Essays in Persuasion

(p.228) 8 Six Essays in Persuasion
Rational Expectations and Inflation

Thomas J. Sargent

Princeton University Press

This chapter consists of six essays that use “unpleasant monetarist arithmetic” to interpret events during the 1980s and 1990s in Brazil and the United States. During the 1980s, the United States took steps along a path upon which Brazil had travelled much further, a path along which interest-bearing government debt is growing as a percentage of GNP. The U.S. government was able readily to borrow large amounts, and had far to go before the government's budget constraint threatened to impose painful choices among the options of raising taxes, lowering government expenditures, or printing currency. Brazil found its ability to borrow very limited, and therefore had to confront those painful choices immediately. One essay emphasizes that a country's inflation rate at any moment emerges out of the sustained monetary and fiscal policy that it chooses, now and in the future.

Keywords:   government debt, Brazil, United States, taxes, government expenditures, inflation, monetary policy, fiscal policy

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