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The liquidity trap, the real balance effect, and the Friedman rule

  • Peter Ireland

This paper studies the behavior of the economy and the efficacy of monetary policy under zero nominal interest rates, using a model with population growth that nests, as a special case, a more conventional specification in which there is a single infinitely lived representative agent. The paper shows that with a growing population, monetary policy has distributional effects that give rise to a real balance effect, thereby eliminating the liquidity trap. These same distributional effects, however, can also work to make many agents much worse off under zero nominal interest rates than they are when the nominal interest rate is positive.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 05-3.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:05-3
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  1. Harold L. Cole & Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1998. "Zero nominal interest rates: why they're good and how to get them," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-10.
  2. Thomas F. Cooley & Gary D. Hansen, 1987. "The Inflation Tax in a Real Business Cycle Model," UCLA Economics Working Papers 496, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Abel, Andrew B., 1987. "Optimal monetary growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 437-450, May.
  4. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  5. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2000. "Inflation and Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 247-274, March.
  6. Michael Mussa, 2000. "Summary panel: reflections on monetary policy at low inflation," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 1100-1106.
  7. Peter N. Ireland, 2000. "Implementing the Friedman rule," Working Paper 0012, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  8. Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Price Level Determinacy in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 345-80.
  9. William C. Whitesell, 1988. "Age heterogeneity and the Tobin effect with infinite horizons," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  11. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2000. "How Should Monetary Policy be Conducted in an Era of Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 7516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Buiter, Willem H, 1988. "Death, Birth, Productivity Growth and Debt Neutrality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 279-93, June.
  13. Bruce D. Smith, 2002. "Monetary Policy, Banking Crises, and the Friedman Rule," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 128-134, May.
  14. Freeman, Scott, 1985. "Transactions Costs and the Optimal Quantity of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 146-57, February.
  15. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "The optimum quantity of money," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1067-1152 Elsevier.
  16. Weil, Philippe, 1991. "Is Money Net Wealth?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(1), pages 37-53, February.
  17. Bennett T. McCallum, 1986. "Some Issues Concerning Interest Rate Pegging, Price Level Determinacy, and the Real Bills Doctrine," NBER Working Papers 1294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Cohen, Daniel, 1985. "Inflation, wealth and interest rates in an intertemporal optimizing model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 73-85, July.
  19. Freeman, Scott, 1993. "Resolving Differences over the Optimal Quantity of Money," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(4), pages 801-11, November.
  20. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Weiss, Laurence M, 1980. "The Effects of Money Supply on Economic Welfare in the Steady State," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 565-76, April.
  22. Gahvari, Firouz, 1988. "Lump-sum taxation and the superneutrality and optimum quantity of money in life cycle growth models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 339-367, August.
  23. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  24. Freeman, Scott J, 1989. "Fiat Money as a Medium of Exchange," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(1), pages 137-51, February.
  25. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Haslag, Joseph & Russell, Steven, 2004. "The Role of Money in Two Alternative Models: When is the Friedman Rule Optimal, and Why?," Staff General Research Papers 11950, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  26. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
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