Optimal Monetary Policy in a Financially Fragile Economy
This paper studies optimal monetary policy in an economy where firms rely heavily on external funds to finance operational costs. In the model, financial contracts are subject to agency problems and firms can possibly default on borrowed funds. Financial frictions have two separate effects on the model. First, they introduce an indirect cost channel to the monetary transmission mechanism. Second, they exacerbate the welfare costs of output gap fluctuations. The indirect cost channel implies that a given reduction in inflation can be achieved with a smaller output loss. This effect encourages the policy maker to emphasize inflation stabilization. At the same time, agency costs also make output gap fluctuations more costly in terms of economic welfare. This second effect encourages the policy maker to place more emphasis on output gap stabilization. Whether the optimal policy requires greater inflation stabilization or output gap stabilization depends on the balance of these two effects. Under a reasonable parametrization, the first effect dominates the second and the optimizing policy maker adopts a stricter anti-inflationary stance.
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Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
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