Identifying fiscal inflation in India: some recent evidence from an asymmetric approach
Keywords:India, Inflation, Asymmetry, Casuality, Fiscal deficit, Output growth
Purpose: Among the many factors fueling the inflationary tendencies in an economy such as monetary shocks, structural shocks, demand shocks, external shocks and demographic changes, the issue of inflation (INF) has also been found to be related to fiscal policy decisions of the government. The purpose of this study is to investigate the inflationary tendencies in India particularly from the fiscal point of view. The study also examines the influence of other potential determinants such as output growth rate, interest rate, tradeopenness (TO) and oil price inflation (OPI).
Design/methodology/approach: To examine the dynamic nature of association between fiscal deficit and inflation, the study applies the Toda-Yamamoto (1995) test and Breitung and Candelon (2006) test to investigate the nature of causality in time and frequency domain frameworks. In addition, to scrutinize the possibility of a long-run association, that too from an asymmetric point of view, the study applies a Non-linear Autoregressive Distributed lag model (NARDL) given by Shin et al. (2014). Finally, non-linear cumulative dynamic multipliers are used to trace the traverse between disequilibrium position of short-run and subsequent long-run equilibrium of the system.
Findings: The authors found a unidirectional causality from fiscal deficit to inflation in case of time domain analysis and no feedback causality is reported. However, in case of frequency domain design, causality from fiscal deficit to inflation is found at low frequencies only, i.e. no short-run causality is established and hence dynamic nature of the relationship between the two variables is vindicated. Using NARDL model, the results document the existence of an asymmetric long-run direct association between fiscal deficit and inflation. However, an increase in deficit is found to be more inflationary and a decrease affects the inflation with a lower magnitude. The asymmetric impact of fiscal deficit on inflation can be explained through the existence of liquidity constraints, consumption-investment downward inflexibility and the downward price stickiness. Contractionary monetary policy action is found to be more effective than an expansionary one, signifying the asymmetric influence of monetary policy actions on the inflation of India. Similarly, in a supply-constrained economy with downward price rigidity, the authors found an asymmetric impact of output growth and output decline on inflation. As regard to the trade-openness, although an asymmetry is reported, the signs refute the validation of Romer (1993) hypothesis. Finally, the impact of oil price inflation on the inflationary pressures is according to theory but the coefficients are devoid of statistical significance.
Practical implications: These results indicate some important policy recommendations. Fiscal consolidation strategy should be executed in an appreciable manner to achieve the sound fiscal health and lower INF. The disciplined fiscal strategy would also be imperative for an effective monetary policy. Monetary authorities should possess noticeable credibility to manage the macroeconomic system and policy stances should be implemented according to requirements of the economy. Growth in output should be encouraged to have twofold benefits to the economy – reducing INF on the one hand and fiscal deficits on the other.
Originality/value: The study contributes to the existing literature in the following ways. First, taking note of dynamic nature of the relationship between these two variables, the study examined the deficit INF nexus in a dynamic and asymmetric framework. The novelty of the study is ensured by the very nature of it is the first study in case of India to identify the fiscal INF in an asymmetric configuration. The authors applied a NARDL model, given by Shin et al. (2014) to examine the existence of any cointegrating relationship in an asymmetric paradigm. Second, the nature of causality between fiscal deficit and INF has been examined in a time domain and FD framework to portray precisely the casual interactions between these two variables in the short-run and long run. The study will, therefore, enrich the existing literature along the asymmetric lines .
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