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April 11, 2013

'Monetary Policy in a Liquidity Trap'

David Andolfatto argues this is not "grandma's liquidity trap":
Krugman has an interesting article today, Monetary Policy in a Liquidity Trap. I (sort of) agree with much of it. But I believe that a few comments are in order...
In grandma's liquidity trap, the real interest rate is too high because of the zero lower bound. Steve [Willaimson] argues that in our current liquidity trap, the real interest rate is too low, reflecting the huge world appetite for relatively safe assets like U.S. treasuries.

If this latter view is correct, then "corrective" measures like expanding G or increasing the inflation target are not addressing the fundamental economic problem: low real interest rates as the byproduct of real economic/political/financial factors.

Given these "real" problems, Steve's view is that the Fed is largely irrelevant. But he does assign hope to the Treasury: increase the supply of its securities to meet the world demand for them. I've been making similar arguments for some time now; for example, here. ...

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