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Beyond the Liquidity Trap: the Secular Stagnation of Investment

Author

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  • Virgiliu Midrigan

    (New York University)

  • Thomas Philippon

    (NEW YORK UNIVERSITY)

  • Callum Jones

    (New York University)

Abstract

We propose an alternative view of the weak recovery of the U.S. economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Using a New Keynesian model with capital accumulation and an occasionally binding zero lower bound constraint on nominal interest rates, we find that the slow recovery of the U.S. economy is not driven by weak consumption and depressed asset prices as the standard liquidity trap theory would predict. Instead, the slow recovery is explained by a persistent decline in corporate investment despite favorable economic conditions, as measured by Tobin’s Q, profit rates, and funding costs. Taking into account general equilibrium effects, we show that, if investment had followed its traditional pattern, the economy would have escaped the zero lower bound by the end of 2012.

Suggested Citation

  • Virgiliu Midrigan & Thomas Philippon & Callum Jones, 2016. "Beyond the Liquidity Trap: the Secular Stagnation of Investment," 2016 Meeting Papers 1429, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:1429
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2016/paper_1429.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Prescott, Edward C, 1971. "Investment Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 659-681, September.
    2. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Gordon, Grey & Guerrón-Quintana, Pablo & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan F., 2015. "Nonlinear adventures at the zero lower bound," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 182-204.
    3. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
    4. Robert E. Hall, 2001. "The Stock Market and Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1185-1202, December.
    5. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Neil R. Mehrotra, 2014. "A Model of Secular Stagnation," NBER Working Papers 20574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
    7. Thomas Philippon, 2009. "The Bond Market's q," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1011-1056.
    8. 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.
    9. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
    10. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo J Caballero & Alp Simsek, 2020. "A Risk-Centric Model of Demand Recessions and Speculation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(3), pages 1493-1566.
    2. Olmstead-Rumsey, Jane, 2019. "Market Concentration and the Productivity Slowdown," MPRA Paper 93260, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Germán Gutiérrez & Thomas Philippon, 2017. "Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 23583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Nicolo Maffei-Faccioli, 2020. "Identifying the Sources of the Slowdown in Growth: Demand vs. Supply," 2020 Papers pma2978, Job Market Papers.
    5. Massimo Del Gatto & Fadi Hassan & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2019. "Company Profits in Italy," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 093, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    6. Aquilante, Tommaso & Chowla, Shiv & Dacic, Nikola & Haldane, Andrew & Masolo, Riccardo & Schneider, Patrick & Seneca, Martin & Tatomir, Srdan, 2019. "Market power and monetary policy," Bank of England working papers 798, Bank of England.

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