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Understanding policy in the great recession: Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic

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  • Cochrane, John H.

Abstract

I use the valuation equation of government debt to understand fiscal and monetary policy in and following the great recession of 2008-2009. I also examine policy alternatives to avoid deflation, and how fiscal pressures might lead to inflation. I conclude that the central bank may be almost powerless to avoid deflation or inflation; that an eventual fiscal inflation can come well before large deficits or monetization are realized, and that it is likely to come with stagnation rather than a boom.

Suggested Citation

  • Cochrane, John H., 2011. "Understanding policy in the great recession: Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 2-30, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:1:p:2-30
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    1. Antje Berndt & Hanno Lustig & Şevin Yeltekin, 2012. "How Does the US Government Finance Fiscal Shocks?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 69-104, January.
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    4. Mathias Trabandt & Harald Uhlig, 2006. "How Far Are We From The Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-023, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    5. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Haircuts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 507-520.
    6. Alessandro Piergallini & Giorgio Rodano, 2012. "Public Debt, Distortionary Taxation, and Monetary Policy," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 225-248.
    7. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2001. "Prospective Deficits and the Asian Currency Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1155-1197, December.
    8. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
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    11. Adam Ashcraft & Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Two Monetary Tools: Interest Rates and Haircuts," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 143-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
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    17. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
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    21. Harald Uhlig, 2010. "Some Fiscal Calculus," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 30-34, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inflation Deflation Fiscal theory of the price level;

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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