Expectations-driven liquidity traps: implications for monetary and fiscal policy
We study optimal monetary and fiscal policy in a New Keynesian model where occasional declines in agents’ confidence can give rise to persistent liquidity trap episodes. Unlike in the case of fundamental-driven liquidity traps, there is no straightforward recipe for mitigating the welfare costs and the systematic inflation shortfall associated with expectations-driven liquidity traps. Raising the inflation target or appointing an inflation-conservative central banker improves inflation outcomes away from the lower bound but exacerbates the shortfall at the lower bound. Using government spending as an additional policy tool worsens stabilization outcomes both at and away from the lower bound. However, appointing a policymaker who is sufficiently less concerned with government spending stabilization than society can eliminate expectations-driven liquidity traps altogether.