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Fiscal activism and the zero nominal interest rate bound

  • Schmidt, Sebastian

I show that the zero nominal interest rate bound may render it desirable for society to appoint a fiscally activist policy-maker who cares less about the stabilisation of government spending relative to inflation and output gap stabilisation than the private sector does. I work with a simple New Keynesian model where the government has to decide each period afresh about the optimal level of public consumption and the one period nominal interest rate. A fiscally activist policy-maker uses government spending more aggressively to stabilise inflation and the output gap in a liquidity trap than an authority with preferences identical to those of society as a whole would do. The appointment of an activist policy-maker corrects for discretionary authorities’ disregard of the expectations channel, thereby reducing the welfare costs associated with zero bound events. JEL Classification: E52, E62, E63

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1653.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20141653
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  1. Matthew Denes & Gauti B. Eggertsson & Sophia Gilbukh, 2012. "Deficits, public debt dynamics, and tax and spending multipliers," Staff Reports 551, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
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  7. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Schmidt, Sebastian, 2012. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," IMFS Working Paper Series 53, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
  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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  12. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2011. "What Fiscal Policy is Effective at Zero Interest Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 59-112 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
  15. Eggertsson, Gauti B., 2006. "The Deflation Bias and Committing to Being Irresponsible," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 283-321, March.
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