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The simple analytics of helicopter money: Why it works - always

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  • Buiter, Willem H.

Abstract

The author provides a rigorous analysis of Milton Friedman's parable of the "helicopter" drop of money a permanent/irreversible increase in the nominal stock of fiat base money rate which respects the intertemporal budget constraint of the consolidated Central Bank and Treasury - the State. Examples are a temporary fiscal stimulus funded permanently through an increase in the stock of base money and permanent QE - an irreversible, monetized open market purchase by the Central Bank of non-monetary sovereign - debt. Three conditions must be satisfied for helicopter money always to boost aggregate demand. First, there must be benefits from holding fiat base money other than its pecuniary rate of return. Second, fiat base money is irredeemable - viewed as an asset by the holder but not as a liability by the issuer. Third, the price of money is positive. Given these three conditions, there always exists - even in a permanent liquidity trap - a combined monetary and fiscal policy action that boosts private demand - in principle without limit. Deflation, "lowflation" and secular stagnation are therefore unnecessary. They are policy choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Buiter, Willem H., 2014. "The simple analytics of helicopter money: Why it works - always," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201428
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2014-28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Galí, Jordi, 2014. "The Effects of a Money-Financed Fiscal Stimulus," CEPR Discussion Papers 10165, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. M. Kasongo Kashama, 2016. "Helicopter money and debt-financed fiscal stimulus : one and the same thing ?," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 31-40, December.
    3. Jordi Galí, 2014. "The effects of a money-financed fiscal stimulus," Economics Working Papers 1441, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2017.
    4. Arteta, Carlos & Kose, Ayhan & Stocker, Marc & Taskin, Temel, 2016. "Negative Interest Rate Policies: Sources and Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 11433, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Elif C Arbatli & Dennis P Botman & Kevin Clinton & Pietro Cova & Vitor Gaspar & Zoltan Jakab & Douglas Laxton & Constant A Lonkeng Ngouana & Joannes Mongardini & Hou Wang, 2016. "Reflating Japan; Time to Get Unconventional?," IMF Working Papers 16/157, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Maarten van Rooij & Jakob de Haan, 2016. "Will helicopter money be spent? New evidence," DNB Working Papers 538, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    7. Maxime Menuet & Alexandru Minea & Patrick Villieu, 2015. "Deficit Rules and Monetization in a Growth Model with Multiplicity and Indeterminacy," Working Papers halshs-01199774, HAL.
    8. Buiter, Willem H., 2017. "The Fallacy of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level - Once More," CEPR Discussion Papers 11941, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2015. "Secular Stagnation: Theory and Remedies," Working Papers hal-01211667, HAL.
    10. Kleczka, Mitja, 2015. "Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, and Secular Stagnation at the Zero Lower Bound. A View on the Eurozone," MPRA Paper 67228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Nisticò, Salvatore, 2015. "Non-Neutrality of Open-Market Operations," CEPR Discussion Papers 10594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Jörg Bibow, 2015. "The euro's savior? Assessing the ECB's crisis management performance and potential for crisis resolution," IMK Studies 42-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    13. Buiter, Willem H., 2017. "The Good and the Bad Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 11975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Buiter, Willem H. & Sibert, Anne C., 2017. "The fallacy of the fiscal theory of the price level - one last time," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-84, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    15. Bossone, Biagio, 2014. "Secular stagnation," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-47, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    16. Buiter, Willem, 2014. "Central Banks: Powerful, Political and Unaccountable?," MPRA Paper 59477, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Hampl, Mojmir & Havranek, Tomas, 2018. "Central Bank Capital as an Instrument of Monetary Policy," EconStor Preprints 176828, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    18. Jordi Galí, 2014. "The Effects of a Money-Financed Fiscal Stimulus," Working Papers 786, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    19. Claudio Borio & Anna Zabai, 2016. "Unconventional monetary policies: a re-appraisal," BIS Working Papers 570, Bank for International Settlements.
    20. Djuric, Uros & Neugart, Michael, 2017. "Helicopter money: survey evidence on expectation formation and consumption behavior," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168062, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. repec:eee:jmacro:v:54:y:2017:i:pa:p:110-126 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:62-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Jorg Bibow, 2015. "The Euro's Savior? Assessing the ECB's Crisis Management Performance and Potential for Crisis Resolution," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_845, Levy Economics Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Helicopter money; liquidity trap; seigniorage; secular stagnation; central bank; quantitative easing;

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • 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
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt

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