Fiscal Dominance - A Theory of Everything in India
Issue: Nov-Dec 2020
This article focuses on the different channels through which fiscal dominance of the central bank affects financial stability in India, notably through its effect on bank recapitalization and regulation, default closure norms, monetary policy decisions, bond market regulations, capital flow measures and central bank balance sheet. Fiscal dominance also has other side effects on the economy, such as crowding out of private sector investment, external sector fragility of corporate sector financing, financial fragility of firms reliant on market financing, and finally, poor transmission of monetary policy. The paper ends with recommendations on the steps a central bank can take to limit being fiscally dominated. This requires a firm commitment to long-term financial stability, which must be reflected in the central bank’s objectives. The central bank must have autonomy over regulatory decisions, including for government-owned entities in the banking and financial sector. The central bank should adopt a mostly rules-based policy making approach rather than relying on excessive discretion. Finally, the central bank should be democratically accountable through transparency of actions and intent as well as an acknowledgement of limitations of its policy options.