Policy multipliers under an interest rate peg of deterministic versus stochastic duration

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 14 June 2013

Working Paper No. 475
By Charles T Carlstrom, Timothy S Fuerst and Matthias Paustian

 This paper revisits the size of the fiscal multiplier. The experiment is a fiscal expansion under the assumption of a pegged nominal rate of interest in linearised sticky price model. We demonstrate that a quantitatively important issue is the articulation of the exit from the policy experiment. If the monetary-fiscal expansion is stochastic with a mean duration of T periods, the fiscal multiplier can be unboundedly large. However, if the monetary-fiscal expansion is for fixed T periods, the multiplier is much smaller. Our explanation rests on a Jensen’s inequality-type argument: the deterministic multiplier is convex in duration, and the stochastic multiplier is a weighted average of the deterministic multipliers. The quantitative difference in the two multipliers also arises in a model with capital, and in the baseline non-linear model. However, the difference between the two is less pronounced in the non-linear models. The errors from a linear approximation are much larger for the stochastic exit model than for the deterministic exit model. Thus, we conclude that the deterministic exit model should be preferred.

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