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Understanding Policy in the Great Recession: Some Unpleasant Fiscal Arithmetic

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  • John H. Cochrane

Abstract

I use the valuation equation of government debt to understand fiscal and monetary policy in and following the great recession of 2008-2009, to think about fiscal pressures on US inflation, and what sequence of events might surround such an inflation. I emphasize that a fiscal inflation can come well before large deficits or monetization are realized, and is likely to come with stagnation rather than a boom.

Suggested Citation

  • John H. Cochrane, 2010. "Understanding Policy in the Great Recession: Some Unpleasant Fiscal Arithmetic," NBER Working Papers 16087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16087
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    1. Mathias Trabandt & Harald Uhlig, 2006. "How Far Are We From The Slippery Slope? The Laffer Curve Revisited," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-023, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    2. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2001. "Prospective Deficits and the Asian Currency Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1155-1197, December.
    3. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sergio, 2006. "Government finance in the wake of currency crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 401-440, April.
    4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2007. "International Financial Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 665-703, August.
    5. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
    6. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
    7. Adam Ashcraft & Nicolae Gârleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Two Monetary Tools: Interest Rates and Haircuts," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 143-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 78-121.
    9. Darrell, Duffie, 2010. "The Failure Mechanics of Dealer Banks," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 4, pages 131-153.
    10. Alessandro Piergallini & Giorgio Rodano, 2012. "Public Debt, Distortionary Taxation, and Monetary Policy," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 225-248.
    11. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "Money as stock," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 501-528, April.
    12. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
    13. John H. Cochrane, 2008. "The Dog That Did Not Bark: A Defense of Return Predictability," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1533-1575, July.
    14. Antje Berndt & Hanno Lustig & Şevin Yeltekin, 2012. "How Does the US Government Finance Fiscal Shocks?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 69-104, January.
    15. Cochrane, John H, 2001. "Long-Term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 69-116, January.
    16. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Haircuts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 507-520.
    17. Robert Novy-Marx & Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
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    19. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2009:x:6 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2011. "The Laffer curve revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 305-327.
    21. Harald Uhlig, 2010. "Some Fiscal Calculus," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 30-34, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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