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Helicopter Money: Irredeemable Fiat Money and the Liquidity Trap

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  • Willem H. Buiter

Abstract

The paper provides a formalisation of the monetary folk proposition that fiat base money is an asset of the holder but not a liability of the issuer. The issuance of irredeemable fiat base money can have pure fiscal effects on private demand. With irredeemable fiat base money, weak restrictions on the monetary policy rule suffice to rule out liquidity trap equilibria - equilibria in which all current and future short nominal interest rates are at their lower bounds. In a model with flexible prices, liquidity trap equilibria cannot occur as long as the private sector does not expect the monetary authority to reduce the nominal money stock to zero in the long run. In a New-Keynesian model out provided the private sector expects the authorities not to reduce the nominal stock of base money below a certain finite level in the long run. Liquidity trap equilibria can exist if and for as long as the private sector expects that the monetary authorities will ultimately reverse any current expansion of the monetary base in present value terms.

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  • Willem H. Buiter, 2003. "Helicopter Money: Irredeemable Fiat Money and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 10163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10163
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    Cited by:

    1. Buiter, Willem H., 2004. "The Elusive Welfare Economics of Price Stability As A Monetary Policy Objective: Should New Keynesian Central Bankers Persue Price Stability," CEPR Discussion Papers 4730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Buiter, Willem H., 2007. "Seigniorage," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 1, pages 1-49.
    3. Buiter, Willem H. & Sibert, Anne C., 2007. "Deflationary Bubbles," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(04), pages 431-454, September.
    4. Willem Buiter, 2007. "Is Numérairology the Future of Monetary Economics?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 127-156, April.
    5. Buiter, Willem H., 2009. "Negative nominal interest rates: Three ways to overcome the zero lower bound," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 213-238, December.
    6. Willem Buiter, 2004. "A Small Corner of Intertemporal Public Finance - New Developments in Monetary Economics: 2 Ghosts, 2 Eccentricities, A Fallacy, A Mirage and A Mythos," NBER Working Papers 10524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Buiter, Willem H., 2017. "The Fallacy of the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level - Once More," CEPR Discussion Papers 11941, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Buiter, Willem H., 2014. "The simple analytics of helicopter money: Why it works - always," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-51.
    9. Buiter, Willem H., 2006. "How Robust is the New Conventional Wisdom? The Surprising Fragility of the Theoretical Foundations of Inflation Targeting and Central Bank Independence," CEPR Discussion Papers 5772, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Tomasz Michalak & Jacob Engwerda & Joseph Plasmans, 2009. "Strategic Interactions between Fiscal and Monetary Authorities in a Multi-Country New-Keynesian Model of a Monetary Union," CESifo Working Paper Series 2534, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Willem Buiter, 2005. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates: Gesell’s currency carry tax vs. Eisler’s parallel virtual currency," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 189-200, November.
    12. Buiter, Willem H., 2006. "The elusive welfare economics of price stability as a monetary policy objective: why New Keynesian central bankers should validate core inflation," Working Paper Series 609, European Central Bank.
    13. Buiter, Willem H., 2017. "The Good and the Bad Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," CEPR Discussion Papers 11975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Buiter, Willem H. & Sibert, Anne C., 2017. "The fallacy of the fiscal theory of the price level - one last time," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-84, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    15. John H. Cochrane, 2009. "Comment on "On the Need for a New Approach to Analyzing Monetary Policy"," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 427-448 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Bossone, Biagio, 2014. "Secular stagnation," Economics Discussion Papers 2014-47, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    17. W.H. Buiter, 2007. "Is Numérairology the Future of Monetary Economics? Unbundling numéraire and medium of exchange through a virtual currency and a shadow exchange rate," CEP Discussion Papers dp0776, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    18. Bennett T. McCallum, 2011. "Should central banks raise their inflation targets? Some relevant issues," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 2Q, pages 111-131.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money

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