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Sharing the Burden: Monetary and Fiscal Responses to a World Liquidity Trap

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  • David Cook
  • Michael B. Devereux

Abstract

With integrated trade and financial markets, a collapse in aggregate demand in a large country can cause ‘natural real interest rates’ to fall below zero in all countries, giving rise to a global ‘liquidity trap’. This paper explores the policy choices that maximize the joint welfare of all countries following such a shock, when governments cooperate on both fiscal and monetary policy. Adjusting to a large negative demand shock requires raising world aggregate demand, as well as redirecting demand towards the source (home) country. The key feature of demand shocks in a liquidity trap is that relative prices respond perversely. A negative shock causes an appreciation of the home terms of trade, exacerbating the slump in the home country. At the zero bound, the home country cannot counter this shock. Because of this, it may be optimal for the foreign policy-maker to raise interest rates. Strikingly, the foreign country may choose to have a positive policy interest rate, even though its ‘natural real interest rate’ is below zero. A combination of relatively tight monetary policy in the foreign country combined with substantial fiscal expansion in the home country achieves the level and composition of world expenditure that maximizes the joint welfare of the home and foreign country. Thus, in response to conditions generating a global liquidity trap, there is a critical mutual interaction between monetary and fiscal policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17131.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Publication status: published as David Cook & Michael B. Devereux, 2013. "Sharing the Burden: Monetary and Fiscal Responses to a World Liquidity Trap," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 190-228, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17131

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Monetary and fiscal policy cooperation in a liquidity trap
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-10-03 14:39:00
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Cited by:
  1. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Romei, Federica, 2012. "Debt Deleveraging and the Exchange Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 8938, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Schmidt, Sebastian, 2014. "Fiscal activism and the zero nominal interest rate bound," Working Paper Series 1653, European Central Bank.
  3. Luca Fornaro, 2012. "International debt deleveraging," Economics Working Papers 1401, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2013.
  4. Matthieu Bussière & Jean Imbs & Robert Kollmann & Romain Rancière, 2013. "The Financial Crisis: Lessons for International Macroeconomics," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 75-84, July.
  5. Luca Fornaro, 2013. "International Debt Deleveraging," Working Papers 182, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).

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