IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/boe/boeewp/111.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Liquidity traps: how to avoid them and how to escape them

Author

Listed:
  • Willem H Buiter
  • Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou

Abstract

An economy is in a liquidity trap when monetary policy cannot influence either real or nominal variables of interest. A necessary condition for this is that the short nominal interest rate is constrained by its lower bound, typically zero. The paper develops a small analytical model to show how an economy can get into a liquidity trap, how it can avoid getting into one and how it can get out. The empirical likelihood of the UK economy hitting the zero nominal rate bound is considered by investigating the relationship between the level of the short nominal interest rate and its volatility. The empirical evidence on this issue is mixed. To reduce the risk of falling into a liquidity trap, the authorities have two options. The first is to raise the inflation target. The second is to lower the zero nominal interest rate floor. This second option involves paying negative interest on government 'bearer bonds' - coin and currency - ie 'taxing money', as advocated by Gesell. Once in a liquidity trap, there are two means of escape. The first is to use expansionary fiscal policy. The second is, again, to lower the zero nominal interest rate floor. There are likely to be significant shoe leather costs associated with any scheme to tax currency.

Suggested Citation

  • Willem H Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 2000. "Liquidity traps: how to avoid them and how to escape them," Bank of England working papers 111, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:111
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/workingpapers/2000/wp111.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chan, K C, et al, 1992. " An Empirical Comparison of Alternative Models of the Short-Term Interest Rate," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1209-1227, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Willem H. Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 1999. "Liquidity Traps: How to Avoid Them and How to Escape Them," NBER Working Papers 7245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1, January.
    5. Coenen Günter & Orphanides Athanasios & Wieland Volker, 2004. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, February.
    6. Karen H. Johnson & David H. Small & Ralph W. Tryon, 1999. "Monetary policy and price stability," International Finance Discussion Papers 641, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Arthur M. Okun, 1975. "Inflation: Its Mechanics and Welfare Costs," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(2), pages 351-402.
    8. Chadha, Jagjit S & Haldane, Andrew G & Janssen, Norbert G J, 1998. "Shoe-Leather Costs Reconsidered," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 363-382, March.
    9. Taylor, John B., 1981. "On the relation between the variability of inflation and the average inflation rate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 57-85, January.
    10. J. Tobin, 1958. "Liquidity Preference as Behavior Towards Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 65-86.
    11. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:2:y:1971:i:1971-2:p:485-498 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Karl-Heinz Todter & Gerhard Ziebarth, 1997. "Price Stability vs. Low Inflation in Germany: An Analysis of Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Clouse James & Henderson Dale & Orphanides Athanasios & Small David H. & Tinsley P.A., 2003. "Monetary Policy When the Nominal Short-Term Interest Rate is Zero," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-65, September.
    14. Buiter, Willem H., 1977. "`Crowding out' and the effectiveness of fiscal policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 309-328, June.
    15. Tödter, Karl-Heinz & Ziebarth, Gerhard, 1997. "Price stability versus low inflation in Germany: An analysis of costs and benefits," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 1997,03e, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    16. Laurence Ball & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1990. "Inflation and Uncertainty at Long and Short Horizons," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 215-254.
    17. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
    18. Martin S. Feldstein, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Going from Low Inflation to Price Stability," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 123-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:111. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Digital Media Team). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/boegvuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.