Santa-Barbara political economy professor Benjamin Cohen proposes new fiscal stimulus to complement the current low-interest-rate monetary policy.

Daphne Basel

2019-08-28 14:46:00 Wed ET

Santa-Barbara political economy professor Benjamin Cohen proposes new fiscal stimulus to complement the current low-interest-rate monetary policy. Cohen finds that global interest rates persist at low thresholds in the current decade. In OECD and several other economies, low interest rates cannot bounce back too far from the zero lower bound during the global financial crisis.

In Europe, Japan, and Switzerland, the risk-free interest rates fall below zero. In this context, most central banks have little room for new interest rate reductions as the global economy gradually moves toward the next recession. In response to the current Sino-U.S. trade truce and Brexit economic uncertainty, Cohen proposes new countercyclical fiscal stimulus as a key alternative policy instrument for global economic revival. This new fiscal stimulus can manifest in the generic form of tax credits, transfer payments, and public expenditures in health care, infrastructure, education, and technology. Nevertheless, Cohen adds the cautionary caveat that lawmakers may remain reluctant to increase core fiscal deficits on top of post-crisis national debt mountains. To the extent that legislators become wary of backlash in parliamentary elections, it is important for politicians and technocrats to strike a better balance between democratic accountability and elite interest entrenchment.

 


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