Central banks are viewed as having a demonstrated ability to lower long-run inflation. Since the Financial Crisis, however, the central banks in some jurisdictions seem almost powerless to accomplish the opposite. In this article, we offer an explanation for why this may be the case. Because central banks have limited instruments, long-run inflation is ultimately determined by fiscal policy. Central bank control of long-run inflation therefore ultimately hinges on its ability to gain fiscal compliance with its objectives. This ability is shown to be inherently easier for a central bank ...
Bank Panics and Scale Economies
A bank panic is an expectation-driven redemption event that results in a self-fulfilling prophecy of losses on demand deposits. From the standpoint of theory in the tradition of Diamond and Dybvig (1983) and Green and Lin (2003), it is surprisingly di cult to generate bank panic equilibria if one allows for a plausible degree of contractual flexibility. A common assumption employed in the standard banking model is that returns are linear in the scale of investment. Instead, we assume the existence of a fixed investment cost, so that a higher risk-adjusted rate of return is available only if ...
Assessing the Impact of Central Bank Digital Currency on Private Banks
I investigate how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) can be expected to impact a monopolistic banking sector. My framework of analysis combines the Diamond (1965) model of government debt with the Klein (1971) and Monti (1972) model of a monopoly bank. I find that the introduction of a CBDC has no detrimental effect on bank lending activity and may, in some circumstances, even serve to promote it. Competitive pressure leads to a higher monopoly deposit rate which reduces profit but expands deposit funding through greater financial inclusion and desired saving. An appeal to available ...
Fiscal multipliers in war and in peace
Proponents of fiscal stimulus argue that government spending is needed to replace the private spending normally lost during a recession. Estimates of the so-called fiscal multiplier based on wartime episodes are used to support the proposition that a peacetime intervention can "stimulate" the economy in a desirable manner. The author argues that a wartime crisis is fundamentally different from a peacetime economic crisis. What may be desirable in war is not necessarily so in peace. This is demonstrated formally in the context of a simple neoclassical model, which delivers fiscal ...
Preventing Bank Runs
Diamond and Dybvig (1983) is commonly understood as providing a formal rationale for the existence of bank-run equilibria. It has never been clear, however, whether bank-run equilibria in this framework are a natural byproduct of the economic environment or an artifact of suboptimal contractual arrangements. In the class of direct mechanisms, Peck and Shell (2003) demonstrate that bank-run equilibria can exist under an optimal contractual arrangement. The difficulty of preventing runs within this class of mechanism is that banks cannot identify whether withdrawals are being driven by ...
Monetary Policy and Liquid Government Debt
We examine the conduct of monetary policy in a world where the supply of outside money is controlled by the fiscal authority-a scenario increasingly relevant for many developed economies today. Central bank control over the long-run inflation rate depends on whether fiscal policy is Ricardian or Non-Ricardian. The optimal monetary policy follows a generalized Friedman rule that eliminates the liquidity premium on scarce treasury debt. We derive conditions for determinacy under both fiscal regimes and show that they do not necessarily correspond to the Taylor principle. In addition, ...
Quantitative easing in Japan: past and present
Inflation expectations in Japan have recently risen above their historical average.
Is It Time for Some Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic?
Sargent and Wallace (1981) published "Some Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic" 40 years ago. Their central message was that a central bank may not have the power to determine the long-run rate of inflation without fiscal support. In a policy regime where the fiscal authority is non-Ricardian, an attempt on the part of the central bank to lower inflation may end up backfiring. I develop a structural model to illustrate this result through the use of a diagram. In addition, I use the model to explain how low inflation, low interest rates, and high primary budget deficits can coexist. I also use ...
Bank Runs without Sequential Service
Banking models in the tradition of Diamond and Dybvig (1983) rely on sequential service to explain belief-driven runs. But the run-like phenomena witnessed during the financial crisis of 2007?08 occurred in the wholesale shadow banking sector where sequential service is largely absent, suggesting that something other than sequential service is needed to help explain runs. We show that in the absence of sequential service runs can easily occur whenever bank-funded investments are subject to increasing returns to scale consistent with available evidence. Our framework is used to understand and ...
Monetary policy regimes and beliefs
Revised. This paper investigates the role of beliefs over monetary policy in propagating the effects of monetary policy shocks within the context of a dynamic, stochastic general equilibrium model. In this model, monetary policy periodically switches between low- and high-money-growth regimes. When individuals cannot observe the regime directly, they must draw inferences over regime type based on historical money growth rates. The authors show that for an empirically plausible money growth process, beliefs evolve slowly in the wake of a regime change. As a result, their model is able to ...