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Alice Through the Looking Glass: Strategic Monetary and Fiscal Policy Interaction in a Liquidity Trap

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  • Sanjit Dhami

    ()

  • Ali al-Nowaihi

    ()

Abstract

The recent experience with low inflation, and the experience of several economies has reopened interest in the liquidity trap; which occurs when the nominal interest rate reaches its zero lower bound. To reduce the real interest rate, and to stimulate the economy, the modern literature highlights the role of high inflationary expectations. Using the Dixit-Lambertini (2003) framework of strategic policy interaction, we find that the optimal institutional response to the possibility of a liquidity trap has two main components. First, an optimal inflation target given to the Central Bank. Second, the Treasury, who retains control over fiscal policy and acts as leader, is given optimal output and inflation targets. This keeps inflationary expectations sufficiently high and achieves the optimal rational expectations pre-commitment solution. Simulations show that this arrangement is (1) optimal even when the Treasury has no inflation target but follow’s the optimal output target and (2) ‘near optimal’ even when the Treasury follows its own agenda through a suboptimal output target but is willing to follow an optimal inflation target. Finally, if monetary policy is delegated to an independent central bank with an optimal inflation target, but the Treasury retains discretion over fiscal policy, then the outcome can be a very poor one.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanjit Dhami & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2005. "Alice Through the Looking Glass: Strategic Monetary and Fiscal Policy Interaction in a Liquidity Trap," Discussion Papers in Economics 05/17, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Aug 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:05/17
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/leecon/dp05-17.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shin-Ichi Nishiyama, 2004. "Inflation Target as a Buffer against Liquidity Trap," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 568, Econometric Society.
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    Keywords

    liquidity trap; strategic monetary-fiscal coordination; optimal Taylor rules;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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