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Resolving New Keynesian Anomalies with Wealth in the Utility Function


  • Pascal Michaillat

    (Brown University)

  • Emmanuel Saez

    (University of California, Berkeley)


At the zero lower bound, the New Keynesian model predicts that output and inflation collapse to implausibly low levels and that government spending and forward guidance have implausibly large effects. To resolve these anomalies, we introduce wealth into the utility function; the justification is that wealth is a marker of social status, and people value status. Since people partly save to accrue social status, the Euler equation is modified. As a result, when the marginal utility of wealth is sufficiently large, the dynamical system representing the zero-lower-bound equilibrium transforms from a saddle to a source, which resolves all the anomalies.

Suggested Citation

  • Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2021. "Resolving New Keynesian Anomalies with Wealth in the Utility Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 103(2), pages 197-215, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:103:y:2021:i:2:p:197-215
    DOI: 10.1162/rest_a_00893

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy


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