Discussion paper

DP225 Can Public Spending Cuts be Inflationary?

The paper uses a 'demand for seigniorage revenue' and 'supply of seigniorage revenue' approach to determine the consequences of cuts in public spending for the rate of inflation. Monetary financing is viewed as the residual financing mode, with tax rates and public debt/GDP ratios held constant. In a small open economy with an exogenous real interest rate, cuts in public consumption spending will lower the inflation rate in the revenue-efficient region of the seigniorage Laffer curve. When there are cuts in public sector capital formation, the inflation rate can rise even in the seigniorage-efficient region. This will be the case if the expenditure effect (which reduces the deficit one-for-one) is more than offset by direct and indirect revenue effects (which raise the deficit) and by the adverse money demand effect. When the real interest rate is endogenous, the scope for inflation-increasing public spending cuts in enhanced.


Buiter, W (1988), ‘DP225 Can Public Spending Cuts be Inflationary?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 225. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp225