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Is There a Fiscal Free Lunch in a Liquidity Trap?

  • Erceg, Christopher
  • Lindé, Jesper

This paper uses a DSGE model to examine the effects of an expansion in government spending in a liquidity trap. The spending multiplier can be much larger than in the normal situation if the liquidity trap is very prolonged, and the budgetary costs minimal. But given this "fiscal free lunch," it is unclear why policymakers would want to limit the size of fiscal expansion. Our paper addresses this question in a model environment where the duration of the liquidity trap is determined endogenously, and depends on the size of the fiscal stimulus. We show that even if the multiplier is high for small increases in government spending, it may decrease substantially at higher spending levels; thus, it is crucial to distinguish between the average and marginal multiplier.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7624.

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Date of creation: Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7624
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  1. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2006. "SIGMA: A New Open Economy Model for Policy Analysis," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(1), March.
  2. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Online Appendix to "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle"," Technical Appendices 09-191, Review of Economic Dynamics.
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  4. Cogan, John F. & Cwik, Tobias & Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2009. "New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers," CEPR Discussion Papers 7236, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2009. "What are the effects of fiscal policy shocks?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(6), pages 960-992.
  6. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
  7. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2005. "Great expectations and the end of the depression," Staff Reports 234, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2010. "Fiscal Policy in an Expectations Driven Liquidity Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 7931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jung, Taehun & Teranishi, Yuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy at the Zero-Interest-Rate Bound," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 813-35, October.
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  13. Troy Davig & Eric Leeper, 2009. "Monetary-Fiscal Policy Interactions And Fiscal Stimulus," Caepr Working Papers 2009-010, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  14. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  15. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2011. "Foresight and Information Flows," NBER Working Papers 16951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
  17. Lawrence Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2007. "Shocks, Structures or Monetary Policies? The Euro Area and US After 2001," NBER Working Papers 13521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2009. "What fiscal policy is effective at zero interest rates?," Staff Reports 402, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  19. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
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  21. Malin Adolfson & Stefan Laséen & Jesper Lindé & Mattias Villani, 2005. "The Role of Sticky Prices in an Open Economy DSGE Model: A Bayesian Investigation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 444-457, 04/05.
  22. 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.
  23. Bodenstein, Martin & Erceg, Christopher & Guerrieri, Luca, 2010. "The Effects of Foreign Shocks When Interest Rates Are at Zero," CEPR Discussion Papers 8006, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
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