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Understanding the interaction of Chinese Fiscal and Monetary Policy

Interaction of fiscal and monetary policy is crucial for macroeconomic stability, especially for an economy with downward pressure as well as a tightened space for macro policy, like China. In this paper, we use a time-varying-parameter (TVP-VAR) model to study Chinese fiscal–monetary interaction and divide it into three periods. We claim that China went through a monetary dominant regime from 1996Q to 2017Q4 since the response of CPI to a fiscal expansion was negative in the short run and about zero in the long run, while the monetary expansion had positive effects on CPI. During this period, the response of government spending and money supply to each other’s shock had the same sign, indicating that the two policies acted as complements. However, we argue that 2008Q4 was a turning point that divided this period into two different periods. The response level of M2 growth rate to a fiscal expansion kept rising from 1996Q1 to 2008Q4, indicating the central bank’s increasingly active cooperation with fiscal policy, while it decreased from 2009Q1 to 2017Q4. Since 2018Q1, the economy has been going through a fiscal dominant regime in that the response of GDP growth rate and CPI to the fiscal expansion has sharply increased. We also argue that the relative change of the role between the two policies should be mainly attributed to the variation in the fiscal authority’s characteristics because fiscal response to a monetary shock has remained at a similar level the whole time, even if there have been changes in the characteristics of the central bank.