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Managing a Liquidity Trap: Monetary and Fiscal Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Ivan Werning

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Abstract

I study monetary and fiscal policy in liquidity trap scenario, where the zero bound on the nominal interest rate is initially binding. I adopt a continuous-time formulation of the standard New Keynesian model, which allows for an intuitive, graphical analysis and produces some novel results. Without commitment the economy suffers from deflation and depressed output. Perhaps counterintuitively, both are exacerbated with greater price flexibility. Turning to optimal monetary policy, I find that the interest rate should be kept at zero past the liquidity trap. I also show that inflation may be positive throughout. Thus, the absence of deflation is not evidence against a liquidity trap, but may actually be an optimal response to it. Output, on the other hand, always starts below its efficient level and rises above it. Finally, I study fiscal policy and show that, regardless of parameters that underlie estimated "multipliers", at the start of a liquidity trap spending be above its natural level. However, I also show that spending should declines and go below its natural level before returning to zero. I then decompose spending into its "opportunistic" and "stimulus" motives. The former is the optimal level of government purchases from a static, cost-benefit standpoint; the latter measures deviations from the former. I show that, at the start of a liquidity trap, optimal stimulus spending may be positive or negative.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Werning, 2011. "Managing a Liquidity Trap: Monetary and Fiscal Policy," 2011 Meeting Papers 1435, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1435
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2006. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Commitment with a Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1877-1905, October.
    2. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Jung, Taehun & Teranishi, Yuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy at the Zero-Interest-Rate Bound," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 813-835, October.
    5. Olivier Blanchard & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Paolo Mauro, 2010. "Rethinking Macroeconomic Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(s1), pages 199-215, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Burgert, Matthias & Schmidt, Sebastian, 2014. "Dealing with a liquidity trap when government debt matters: Optimal time-consistent monetary and fiscal policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 282-299.
    2. Gavin, William T. & Keen, Benjamin D. & Richter, Alexander & Throckmorton, Nathaniel, 2013. "The stimulative effect of forward guidance," Working Papers 2013-38, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 30 Apr 2014.
    3. Luca Fornaro & Gianluca Benigno, 2015. "Stagnation Traps," 2015 Meeting Papers 810, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Boneva, Lena & Harrison, Richard & Waldron, Matt, 2015. "Threshold-based forward guidance: hedging the zero bound," Bank of England working papers 561, Bank of England.
    5. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:678-711 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Andolfatto, David & Williamson, Stephen, 2015. "Scarcity of safe assets, inflation, and the policy trap," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 70-92.
    7. Carlstrom, Charles T. & Fuerst, Timothy S. & Paustian, Matthias, 2015. "Inflation and output in New Keynesian models with a transient interest rate peg," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 230-243.
    8. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F Rubio-Ramírez, 2014. "Supply-Side Policies and the Zero Lower Bound," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 62(2), pages 248-260, June.
    9. Gavin, William T. & Keen, Benjamin D. & Richter, Alexander W. & Throckmorton, Nathaniel A., 2015. "The zero lower bound, the dual mandate, and unconventional dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 14-38.
    10. repec:eee:dyncon:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:115-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Richhild Moessner & David-Jan Jansen & Jakob de Haan, 2017. "Communication About Future Policy Rates In Theory And Practice: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 678-711, July.
    12. Ngo, Phuong V., 2014. "Optimal discretionary monetary policy in a micro-founded model with a zero lower bound on nominal interest rate," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 44-65.
    13. Pablo Ottonello & Ignacio Presno & Javier Bianchi, 2017. "Fiscal Policy, Sovereign Risk, and Unemployment," 2017 Meeting Papers 1382, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Chiara Fratto & Harald Uhlig, 2014. "Accounting for Post-Crisis Inflation and Employment: A Retro Analysis," NBER Working Papers 20707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1593-1624 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Boneva, Lena Mareen & Braun, R. Anton & Waki, Yuichiro, 2016. "Some unpleasant properties of loglinearized solutions when the nominal rate is zero," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 216-232.
    17. Ernst, Ekkehard & Semmler, Willi & Haider, Alexander, 2017. "Debt-deflation, financial market stress and regime change – Evidence from Europe using MRVAR," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 115-139.
    18. Ngo, Phuong V., 2015. "Household leverage, housing markets, and macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 191-207.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies

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