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Fiscal Policy in an Expectations Driven Liquidity Trap

  • Mertens, Karel
  • Ravn, Morten O

We examine the impact of fiscal policy interventions in an environment where the short term nominal interest rate is at the zero bound. In the basic New Keynesian model in which the monetary authority operates a Taylor rule, globally multiple equilibria arise, some of which display all the features of a liquidity trap. A loss in confidence can set the economy on a deflationary path that eventually prevents the monetary authority from adjusting the interest rate and can lead to potentially very large output drops. Contrary to a line of recent papers, we find that demand stimulating policies become less effective in a liquidity trap than in normal circumstances. The key reason is that demand stimulus leads agents to believe that things are even worse than they thought. In contrast, supply side policies, such as cuts in labor income taxes, lead to relative optimism and become more powerful.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7931.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7931
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  1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Olivier Coibion, 2009. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation: An Alternative Interpretation," 2009 Meeting Papers 21, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. John Cogan & Tobias Cwik & John Taylor & Volker Wieland, 2009. "New Keynesian Versus Old Keynesian Government Spending Multipliers," Discussion Papers 08-030, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Martin Feldstein, 2009. "Rethinking the Role of Fiscal Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 556-59, May.
  4. Miguel Almunia & Agustín S. Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2009. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Lessons," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp303, IIIS.
  5. Evans, George W. & Guse, Eran & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2007. "Liquidity Traps, Learning and Stagnation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6355, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christopher J. Erceg & Jesper Linde, 2010. "Is there a fiscal free lunch in a liquidity trap?," International Finance Discussion Papers 1003, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1999. "Indeterminacy and sunspots in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 387-448 Elsevier.
  9. Olivier Blanchard & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Paolo Mauro, 2010. "Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(s1), pages 199-215, 09.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:4:p:1415-1464 is not listed on IDEAS
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