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Getting fiscal policy in shape to swing with monetary policy


Maandag 11/10/2021
National Bank of Belgium

Since the outbreak and global spread of COVID-19, central banks and governments worldwide have provided massive stimulus to the economy. Looking ahead, however, the question rises whether monetary policy by central banks and fiscal policy by governments will be able to respond with the same vigour and effectiveness to future crises, given structurally low interest rates and higher government debt. This article takes a closer look at the different options to build back fiscal buffers. Do countries need forceful consolidation, can countries grow out of debt or should central banks simply cancel the debts? The analysis is two-fold. The first part empirically assesses the potential of some traditional avenues to bring public debt dynamics in Belgium under control. The second part is more conceptual, critically evaluating the rather heterodox proposal of cancelling government debt on the central bank balance sheet.