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Monetary policy in a financial crisis

  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Christopher J. Gust
  • Jorge Roldos

What are the economic effects of an interest rate cut when an economy is in the midst of a financial crisis? Under what conditions will a cut stimulate output and employment, and raise welfare? Under what conditions will a cut have the opposite effects? We answer these questions in a general class of open economy models, where a financial crisis is modeled as a time when collateral constraints are suddenly binding. We find that when there are frictions in adjusting the level of output in the traded good sector and in adjusting the rate at which that output can be used in other parts of the economy, then a cut in the interest rate is most likely to result in a welfare-reducing fall in output and employment. When these frictions are absent, a cut in the interest rate improves asset positions and promotes a welfare-increasing economic expansion.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-02-05.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-02-05
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