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Understanding Policy in the Great Recession: Some Unpleasant Fiscal Arithmetic

  • John H. Cochrane

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16087.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Cochrane, John H., 2011. "Understanding policy in the great recession: Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 2-30, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16087
Note: AP EFG
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  1. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1998. "Prospective deficits and the Asian currency crisis," Working Paper Series WP-98-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Hélène Rey, 2005. "International financial adjustment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  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. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "Money as stock," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 501-528, April.
  5. 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.
  6. Piergallini Alessandro & Rodano Giorgio, 2012. "Public Debt, Distortionary Taxation, and Monetary Policy," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 225-248.
  7. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Securitized Banking and the Run on Repo," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Trabandt, Mathias & Uhlig, Harald, 2010. "How far are we from the slippery slope? The Laffer curve revisited," Working Paper Series 1174, European Central Bank.
  10. 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.
  11. Cochrane, John H, 1992. "Explaining the Variance of Price-Dividend Ratios," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 243-80.
  12. Darrell Duffie, 2010. "The Failure Mechanics of Dealer Banks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
  13. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2009:x:6 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. 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.
  15. Gary Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2010. "Haircuts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 507-520.
  16. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "Long-term Debt and Optimal Policy in the Fiscal Theory of the Price Level," NBER Working Papers 6771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  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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