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Bernanke’s No-Arbitrage Argument Revisited: Can Open Market Operations in Real Assets Eliminate the Liquidity Trap?

In: Monetary Policy through Asset Markets: Lessons from Unconventional Measures and Implications for an Integrated World

Author

Listed:
  • Gauti B. Eggertsson

    (Brown University)

  • Kevin B. Proulx

    (Brown University)

Abstract

We first show that, at least in theory, open market operations in real assets can be a useful tool for overcoming a liquidity trap because they change the inflation incentives of the government, and thus change private sector expectations from deflationary to inflationary. We argue that this formalizes Ben Bernanke's arbitrage argument for why a central bank can always increase nominal demand, despite the zero lower bound. We illustrate this logic in a calibrated New Keynesian model assuming the government acts under discretion. Numerical experiments suggest, however, that the needed intervention is incredibly high, creating a serious limitation of this solution to the liquidity trap. Our experiments suggest that while asset purchases can be a helpful commitment device in theory, they may need to be combined in practice with fiscal policy coordination to achieve the desired outcome.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Gauti B. Eggertsson & Kevin B. Proulx, 2016. "Bernanke’s No-Arbitrage Argument Revisited: Can Open Market Operations in Real Assets Eliminate the Liquidity Trap?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Elías Albagli & Diego Saravia & Michael Woodford (ed.), Monetary Policy through Asset Markets: Lessons from Unconventional Measures and Implications for an Integrated World, edition 1, volume 24, chapter 3, pages 063-104, Central Bank of Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v24c03pp063-104
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
    2. Michael Woodford, 1998. "Doing Without Money: Controlling Inflation in a Post-Monetary World," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 173-219, January.
    3. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2003. "Closing small open economy models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 163-185, October.
    4. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2003. "How to Fight Deflation in a Liquidity Trap; Committing to Being Irresponsible," IMF Working Papers 03/64, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Olivier Jeanne & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2007. "Credible Commitment to Optimal Escape from a Liquidity Trap: The Role of the Balance Sheet of an Independent Central Bank," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 474-490, March.
    6. Svensson, Lars-E-O, 2001. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 277-312, February.
    7. Eggertsson, Gauti B., 2006. "The Deflation Bias and Committing to Being Irresponsible," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 283-321, March.
    8. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
    9. Matthew Denes & Gauti B. Eggertsson & Sophia Gilbukh, 2013. "Deficits, Public Debt Dynamics and Tax and Spending Multipliers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 133-163, February.
    10. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
    11. Gauti Eggertsson & Bulat Gafarov & Saroj Bhatarai, 2014. "Time Consistency and the Duration of Government Debt: A Signalling Theory of Quantitative Easing," 2014 Meeting Papers 1292, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Alan J. Auerbach & Maurice Obstfeld, 2005. "The Case for Open-Market Purchases in a Liquidity Trap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 110-137, March.
    13. Matthew Denes & Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2009. "A Bayesian approach to estimating tax and spending multipliers," Staff Reports 403, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Robert E. Hall & Ricardo Reis, 2015. "Maintaining Central-Bank Financial Stability under New-Style Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 21173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Del Negro, Marco & Sims, Christopher A., 2015. "When does a central bank׳s balance sheet require fiscal support?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-19.
    16. Sanjay Singh & Gauti Eggertsson, 2015. "The non-linear Calvo model at the zero bound: Some analytic solutions and numerical results," 2015 Meeting Papers 1204, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Wallace, Neil, 1981. "A Modigliani-Miller Theorem for Open-Market Operations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 267-274, June.
    18. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
    19. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, March.
    20. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
    21. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium: I. Observable Actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 191-219, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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