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The macroeconomic response to the economic crisis has revived old debates about the usefulness of monetary and fiscal policy in fighting recessions. Without the ability to further lower interest rates, policy authorities in many countries have turned to expansionary fiscal policies. Recent literature argues that government spending may be very effective in such environments. But a critical element of the stimulus packages in all countries was the use of deficit financing and tax reductions. This paper explores the role of government debt and deficits in an economy constrained by the zero bound on nominal interest rates.
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