Webpages useful for teachers of intermediate macroeconomics:

Why Might a Stimulus Package Be Desireable? Because the Federal Reserve Might Not Be Able to Lower Interest Rates Far Enough to Prevent a Deep Recession

2001-10-14

Powerpoint Version

The Central Bank May Not Be Able to Prevent a Deep Recession

The terror attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 reduced consumer confidence—thus lowering likely future purchases of durable goods by households—and reduced businesses’ willingness to spend money on investment projects. In response, the Federal Reserve has reduced interest rates by a full percentage point to stimulate investment and offset the shock. But can the Federal Reserve do enough? Its ability to reduce interest rates is limited by the fact that the nominal short-term interest rates it controls—and that now stand at 2.5% per year—cannot go below zero. If it does turn out to be the case that the fall in spending produced by the terror attack is large, and that the Federal Reserve’s tools to fight the resulting recession are weak, then there will be a strong argument for stimulative policies—like expanded government spending—that affect the position of the IS curve directly, and would shift it to the right. Unfortunately, the decision about a stimulus package must be made now, before we understand the magnitude and persistence of the shock to consumer confidence and business willingness to invest.


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