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A Small Corner of Intertemporal Public Finance - New Developments in Monetary Economics: Two Ghosts, Two Eccentricities, a Fallacy, a Mirage and a Mythos


  • Buiter, Willem H.


Monetary theory and policy are part of intertemporal public finance. This Paper reviews some interesting recent developments. The two ghosts are the venerable liquidity trap and the Pigou effect or real balance effect. The eccentricities are negative nominal interest rates and the helicopter drop of base money – two unconventional policies for stimulating consumer demand even when nominal interest rates, short and long, present and future, are at their zero lower bounds. The fallacy is the so-called Fiscal Theory of the Price Level, a logically inconsistent theory of the link between the government budget and the general price level. The mirage is the prediction that financial deregulation and technical change in the payments and settlements technology (e-money etc.) will cause monetary policy to lose its capacity to influence even nominal economic variables. Mythos refers to the independent central bank.

Suggested Citation

  • Buiter, Willem H., 2004. "A Small Corner of Intertemporal Public Finance - New Developments in Monetary Economics: Two Ghosts, Two Eccentricities, a Fallacy, a Mirage and a Mythos," CEPR Discussion Papers 4407, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4407

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2000. "Creative Destruction and Development: Institutions, Crises, and Restructuring," NBER Working Papers 7849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 37-74, March.
    3. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    4. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Buiter, Willem H., 2004. "The Elusive Welfare Economics of Price Stability As A Monetary Policy Objective: Should New Keynesian Central Bankers Persue Price Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 4730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Buiter, Willem H. & Sibert, Anne C., 2007. "Deflationary Bubbles," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(04), pages 431-454, September.
    3. Harashima, Taiji, 2007. "The Optimal Quantity of Money Consistent with Positive Nominal Interest Rates," MPRA Paper 1839, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Feb 2007.
    4. Harashima, Taiji, 2006. "The Sustainability of Budget Deficits in an Inflationary Economy," MPRA Paper 905, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    central bank independence; fiscal theory of the price level; liquidity trap; monetary theory; unconventional monetary policies;

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General


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