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Rethinking Stabilization Policy: Evolution or Revolution?

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  • Olivier J. Blanchard
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

The obvious lesson from the Great Financial Crisis is that the financial system matters and financial crises will probably happen again. The second, more general, lesson is that the economy is often not self-stabilizing. These two lessons, together with an environment where neutral interest rates are likely to remain low, have clear implications for the design of stabilization policies. At a minimum, they suggest that policies may need to become more aggressive, both ex-ante and ex-post, with a rebalancing of the roles of monetary, fiscal and financial policies. In particular, while low neutral rates decrease the scope for using monetary policy, they increase the scope for using fiscal policy. Think of such rebalancing as evolution. If however, neutral rates become even lower, or financial regulation turns out to be insufficient to prevent crises, more dramatic measures, including larger fiscal deficits, revised monetary policy targets, or sharper restrictions on the financial system, may be needed. Think of this as revolution. Time will tell.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 2017. "Rethinking Stabilization Policy: Evolution or Revolution?," NBER Working Papers 24179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24179
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Olivier Blanchard, 2018. "Should We Reject the Natural Rate Hypothesis?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 97-120, Winter.
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    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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