Summary panel: monetary policy at the zero lower bound: balancing the risks
Among the many unusual aspects of life in a very-low-inflation economy that might have been discussed, attention here has focussed on the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates. That was a wise choice, I think, for the conduct of monetary policy at or near zero nominal interest rates raises many questions which economists have not thought much about. Fundamentally, the issue is this: Does an economy with a zero nominal interest rate follow more or less the same economic laws as it does in normal times--except that one variable is stuck at zero? Or is the situation more akin to physics at zero gravity, or near absolute zero temperature, where behavior is fundamentally different, even strange? I think the conclusion we seem to be reaching here at Woodstock is that it may indeed be a new world, Tevye.
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