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Financial frictions and the zero lower bound on interest rates: a DSGE analysis

  • Merola, Rossana

Recent developments in Canada, the United Kingdom, the euro area, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States have triggered a debate on whether monetary policy is effective when the nominal interest rate is close to zero. In this context, the monetary authority is no longer in a position to pursue a policy of monetary easing by lowering nominal interest rates further. However, some economists have down-played the risk of hitting the zero lower bound, at least for the US economy. In this paper, I assess the implications of the zero lower bound in a DSGE model with financial frictions. The financial accelerator mechanism is formalized as in Bernanke, Gertler and Gilchrist (1995). The paper attempts to address three main issues. First, I evaluate whether the zero lower bound -- by limiting the use of the nominal interest rate as a policy instrument -- might hamper the monetary authority from offsetting the negative effects of an adverse shock. Second, I analyze whether price-level targeting, through the stabilization of private sector expectations, might be a better monetary rule than inflation targeting in order to avoid the "liquidity trap". Third, I investigate the effectiveness of fiscal stimulus (namely, an increase in government expenditure) when financial markets are imperfect and the nominal interest rate is close to its zero lower bound. In this context, two questions will be addressed: first, do financial frictions weaken the effect of a fiscal expansion? Second, how are results affected when the zero lower bound is binding? To address these questions, I introduce a negative demand shock and an adverse financial shock. I find that by adopting a price-level targeting rule, the monetary authority might alleviate the recession generated by the interaction of financial frictions and lower-bounded nominal interest rates. Alternatively, an increase in government expenditure has a positive impact on output, but fiscal multipliers are below one, due to a strong crowding-out effect of private consumption. This effect is muted when the nominal interest rate is lower bounded. In analyzing discretionary fiscal policy, this paper does also focus on two crucial aspects: the duration of the fiscal stimulus and the presence of implementation lags.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29365.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29365
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  1. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Meier, André & Müller, Gernot, 2009. "Fiscal Stimulus with spending reversals," CEPR Discussion Papers 7302, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Svensson, Lars E O, 2000. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 2566, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Erceg, Christopher & Lindé, Jesper, 2010. "Is There a Fiscal Free Lunch in a Liquidity Trap?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7624, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Michael Woodford, 2011. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
  8. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary policy alternatives at the zero bound: an empirical assessment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Coenen, Günter & Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Price stability and monetary policy effectiveness when nominal interest rates are bounded at zero," Working Paper Series 0231, European Central Bank.
  10. Cogan, John F. & Cwik, Tobias & Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2010. "New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 281-295, March.
  11. Martin Bodenstein & Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri, 2009. "The effects of foreign shocks when interest rates are at zero," International Finance Discussion Papers 983, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Marvin Goodfriend, 2000. "Overcoming the zero bound on interest rate policy," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 1007-1057.
  13. Francisco Covas & Yahong Zhang, 2010. "Price-level versus inflation targeting with financial market imperfections," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1302-1332, November.
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  16. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2000. "How Should Monetary Policy be Conducted in an Era of Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 7516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Willem H Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 2000. "Liquidity traps: how to avoid them and how to escape them," Bank of England working papers 111, Bank of England.
  18. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 9968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Kuester, Keith & Meier, André & Müller, Gernot, 2010. "Debt consolidation and fiscal stabilization of deep recessions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7649, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Ian Christensen & Ali Dib, 2006. "Monetary Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model with a Financial Accelerator," Working Papers 06-9, Bank of Canada.
  21. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Working Papers 95-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  25. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, 2010. "Fiscal Policy in a Model with Financial Frictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 35-40, May.
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