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Who is Afraid of the Friedman Rule?

  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep
  • Haslag, Joseph
  • Martin, Antoine
  • Singh, Rajesh

In this paper, we explore the connection between optimal monetary policy and heterogeneity among agents. We study a standard monetary economy with two types of agents in which the stationary distribution of money holdings is non-degenerate. Sans type-specific fiscal policy, we show that the zero-nominal-interest rate policy (the Friedman rule) does not maximize type-specific welfare; it may not maximize aggregate social welfare either. Indeed, one or, more surprisingly, both types may benefit if the central bank deviates from the Friedman rule. Our results suggest a positive explanation for why central banks around the world do not implement the Friedman rule.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12213.

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Date of creation: 10 Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Inquiry, April 2008, vol. 46 no. 2, pp. 113-130
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12213
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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  1. Andrés Erosa & Gustavo Ventura, 2000. "On Inflation as a Regressive Consumption Tax," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20001, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  2. Carlos E. da Costa & Iván Werning, 2008. "On the Optimality of the Friedman Rule with Heterogeneous Agents and Nonlinear Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 82-112, 02.
  3. Feenstra, Robert C., 1986. "Functional equivalence between liquidity costs and the utility of money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 271-291, March.
  4. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Haslag, Joseph & Martin, Antoine, 2004. "Heterogeneity, Redistribution, and the Friedman Rule," Staff General Research Papers 11371, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Peter N. Ireland, 2005. "The liquidity trap, the real balance effect, and the Friedman rule," Working Papers 05-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Correia, Isabel & Teles, Pedro, 1996. "Is the Friedman rule optimal when money is an intermediate good?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 223-244, October.
  7. Edward J. Green & Ruilin Zhou, 2005. "Money As A Mechanism In A Bewley Economy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 351-371, 05.
  8. Beatrix Paal & Bruce D. Smith, 2013. "The sub-optimality of the Friedman rule and the optimum quantity of money," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(2), pages 911-948, November.
  9. Albanesi, Stefania, 2003. "Optimal and Time-Consistent Monetary and Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 3713, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimality of the Friedman rule in economies with distorting taxes," Staff Report 158, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Chris Edmond, 2002. "Self-Insurance, Social Insurance, and the Optimum Quantity of Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 141-147, May.
  12. Levine, David K., 1991. "Asset trading mechanisms and expansionary policy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 148-164, June.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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