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Can Fiscal Stimulus Overcome the Zero Interest-Rate Bound?: A Quantitative Assessment

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth Lewis

    () (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)

  • Laurence Seidman

    ()

Abstract

This paper provides a quantitative assessment of the use of fiscal stimulus to achieve full recovery from a severe recession when the potency of monetary policy weakens after hitting its zero interest-rate bound. By contrast, most of the numerous recent zero interest-rate bound papers have ignored the use of fiscal stimulus, preferring to examine whether monetary policy alone can revive the economy despite the zero bound. We obtain our estimates by adapting and simulating a macro-econometric model that has been recently econometrically estimated, updated, and statistically tested using U.S. times series data. By contrast, most of the recent zero bound papers do not use an econometrically-estimated model. If the U.S. economy were hit with a large negative demand shock that drives the unemployment rate up to 7.9%, we estimate that even aggressive monetary policy that drives long-term interest rates to near zero would reduce the unemployment rate only to 6.7%. Full recovery would be achieved, however, if the aggressive monetary policy were complemented by sufficient fiscal stimulus in the form of cash transfers or income tax cuts to households. We estimate that a quarterly transfer to households that peaks at 2.7% of quarterly GDP and phases out gradually as it is repeated over seven quarters (so that the cumulative transfer is roughly 12% of quarterly GDP) would reduce the unemployment rate in such a recession by nearly an additional percentage pointC from 6.7% to 5.9%.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Lewis & Laurence Seidman, 2005. " Can Fiscal Stimulus Overcome the Zero Interest-Rate Bound?: A Quantitative Assessment," Working Papers 05-19, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:05-19
    as

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    File URL: http://graduate.lerner.udel.edu/sites/default/files/ECON/PDFs/RePEc/dlw/WorkingPapers/2005/UDWP2005-19.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laurence Seidman, 2001. "Reviving Fiscal Policy," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 17-42.
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    3. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
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    13. Coenen, Gunter & Wieland, Volker, 2004. "Exchange-rate policy and the zero bound on nominal interest rates," MPRA Paper 76687, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    15. repec:pri:cepsud:83svensson is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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