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Is there a fiscal free lunch in a liquidity trap?

  • Christopher J. Erceg
  • Jesper Linde

This paper uses a DSGE model to examine the effects of an expansion in government spending in a liquidity trap. If the liquidity trap is very prolonged, the spending multiplier can be much larger than in normal circumstances, 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 in which 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 marginal and average responses of output and government debt.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 1003.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1003
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  1. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O, 2010. "Fiscal Policy in an Expectations Driven Liquidity Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 7931, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Altig, David & Christiano, Lawrence & Eichenbaum, Martin & Lindé, Jesper, 2004. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," Working Paper Series 176, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  8. Martin Bodenstein & Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri, 2009. "The effects of foreign shocks when interest rates are at zero," International Finance Discussion Papers 983, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  12. 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.
  13. Eric Leeper & Todd Walker & Susan Yang SHu-Chun, 2009. "Fiscal Foresight And Information Flows," Caepr Working Papers 2009-001, 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. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Christiano, Lawrence & Motto, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo, 2008. "Shocks, structures or monetary policies? The Euro Area and US after 2001," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 2476-2506, August.
  19. JonasD.M. Fisher & Ryan Peters, 2010. "Using Stock Returns to Identify Government Spending Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 414-436, 05.
  20. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  23. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
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