Fiscal Policy in an Expectations Driven Liquidity Trap

55 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2010

See all articles by Karel Mertens

Karel Mertens

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Morten O. Ravn

European University Institute - Economics Department (ECO); London Business School - Department of Economics; University of Southampton; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2010

Abstract

We examine the impact of fiscal policy interventions in an environment where the short term nominal interest rate is at the zero bound. In the basic New Keynesian model in which the monetary authority operates a Taylor rule, globally multiple equilibria arise, some of which display all the features of a liquidity trap. A loss in confidence can set the economy on a deflationary path that eventually prevents the monetary authority from adjusting the interest rate and can lead to potentially very large output drops. Contrary to a line of recent papers, we find that demand stimulating policies become less effective in a liquidity trap than in normal circumstances. The key reason is that demand stimulus leads agents to believe that things are even worse than they thought. In contrast, supply side policies, such as cuts in labor income taxes, lead to relative optimism and become more powerful.

Keywords: confidence shocks, fiscal policy, liquidity trap, sunspots

JEL Classification: E30, E50, E62

Suggested Citation

Mertens, Karel and Ravn, Morten O., Fiscal Policy in an Expectations Driven Liquidity Trap (July 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7931, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1647506

Karel Mertens (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 North Pearl Street
PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States

Morten O. Ravn

European University Institute - Economics Department (ECO) ( email )

Villa San Paolo
Via della Piazzuola 43
50133 Florence
Italy

London Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
+44 20 7262 5050 ext. 3717 (Phone)
+44 20 7402 0718 (Fax)

University of Southampton ( email )

University Rd.
Southampton SO17 1BJ, Hampshire SO17 1LP
United Kingdom
+44 1703 593996 (Phone)
+44 1703 593858 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
7
Abstract Views
607
PlumX Metrics