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Should we be afraid of Friedman's rule?

  • Harald Uhlig

    (Humboldt University Berlin, CentER, Tilburg University and CEPR)

Should one think of zero nominal interest rates as an undesirable liquidity trap or as the desirable Friedman rule? I use three different frameworks to discuss this issue. First, I restate Cole and Kocherlakota's (1998) analysis of Friedman's rule: short run increases in the money stock - whether through issuing spending coupons, open market operations or foreign exchange intervention - change nothing as long as the money stock shrinks in the long run. Second, two simple ``Keynesian'' models of the inflationary process with a zero lower bound on nominal interest rates imply either that deflationary spirals should be common or that a policy close to the Friedman rule and thus some deflation is optimal. Finally, a formal ``baby-sitting coop'' model implies multiple equilibria, but does not support the injection of liquidity to restore the good equilibrium, in contrast to Krugman (1998).

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0004016.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 27 Jun 2000
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0004016
Note: Type of Document - .pdf; prepared on PC (TeX); to print on Acrobat Reader: print from there; pages: 55; figures: included. prepared for the TRIO conference in Japan, December 1999
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  2. Rudebusch, Glenn D & Svensson, Lars E O, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," CEPR Discussion Papers 1999, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 1999. "The Great Depression in the United States from a neoclassical perspective," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-24.
  9. Willem H. Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 1999. "Liquidity Traps: How to Avoid Them and How to Escape Them," NBER Working Papers 7245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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