Department of Economics
University of Delaware
Working Paper #2006-14
Overcoming the Zero Interest-Rate Bound: A Quantitative Prescription
Kenneth A. Lewis and Laurence S. Seidman
Two recent empirical studies of the 2001 recession published in the American Economic Review imply that an old-fashioned Keynesian fiscal stimulus—a cash transfer (“tax rebate”) or tax cut to households-- can overcome the zero interest-rate bound problem. We provide a quantitative estimate of the cash transfer that would achieve recovery from a severe recession when confronted with the zero bound. We obtain our result by adapting and simulating a macro-econometric model that has been recently econometrically estimated. With the interest rate near zero, a cash transfer equal to 3% of quarterly GDP repeated four times (quarterly) would reduce the unemployment rate nearly a full percentage point.