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Global Imbalances and Currency Wars at the ZLB

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  • Emmanuel Farhi

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of extremely low equilibrium real interest rates in a world with integrated but heterogenous capital markets, and nominal rigidities. In this context, we establish five main results: (i) Economies experiencing liquidity traps pull others into a similar situation by running current account surpluses; (ii) Reserve currencies have a tendency to bear a disproportionate share of the global liquidity trap—a phenomenon we dub the “reserve currency paradox;†(iii) Beggar-thy-neighbor exchange rate devaluations stimulate the domestic domestic economy at the expense of other economies; (iv) While more price and wage flexibility exacerbates the risk of a deflationary global liquidity trap, it is the more rigid economies that bear the brunt of the recession; (v) (Safe) Public debt issuances and increases in government spending anywhere are expansionary everywhere, and more so when there is some degree of price or wage flexibility. We use our model to shed light on the evolution of global imbalances, interest rates, and exchange rates since the beginning of the global financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel Farhi, 2016. "Global Imbalances and Currency Wars at the ZLB," 2016 Meeting Papers 1418, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:1418
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1427-1467.
    2. Bernanke, B.S., 2011. "International capital flows and the returns to safe assets in the United States 2003-2007," Financial Stability Review, Banque de France, issue 15, pages 13-26, February.
    3. Christopher Erceg & Jesper Lindé, 2014. "Is There A Fiscal Free Lunch In A Liquidity Trap?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 73-107, February.
    4. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Romei, Federica, 2014. "Debt deleveraging and the exchange rate," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-16.
    5. Ricardo J. Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2008. "An Equilibrium Model of "Global Imbalances" and Low Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 358-393, March.
    6. Emmanuel Farhi & Ivan Werning, "undated". "Fiscal Multipliers: Liquidity Traps and Currency Unions," Working Paper 78556, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    7. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2003. "Escaping from a Liquidity Trap and Deflation: The Foolproof Way and Others," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 145-166, Fall.
    8. David Cook & Michael B. Devereux, 2013. "Sharing the Burden: Monetary and Fiscal Responses to a World Liquidity Trap," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 190-228, July.
    9. Michael B. Devereux & James Yetman, 2014. "Capital Controls, Global Liquidity Traps, and the International Policy Trilemma," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(1), pages 158-189, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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