Chapter 26 Optimal fiscal and monetary policy

V. V. Chari, Patrick J. Kehoe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


We provide an introduction to optimal fiscal and monetary policy using the primal approach to optimal taxation. We use this approach to address how fiscal and monetary policy should be set over the long run and over the business cycle. We find four substantive lessons for policymaking: Capital income taxes should be high initially and then roughly zero; tax rates on labor and consumption should be roughly constant; state-contingent taxes on assets should be used to provide insurance against adverse shocks; and monetary policy should be conducted so as to keep nominal interest rates close to zero. We begin by studying optimal taxation in a static context. We then develop a general framework to analyze optimal fiscal policy. Finally, we analyze optimal monetary policy in three commonly used models of money: a cash-credit economy, a money-in-the-utility-function economy, and a shopping-time economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1671-1745
Number of pages75
JournalHandbook of Macroeconomics
Issue numberPART C
StatePublished - 1999


  • Friedman rule
  • Ramsey problems
  • capital income taxation
  • primal approach
  • tax smoothing


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