The COVID-19 pandemic has created both a medical crisis and an economic crisis. As others have noted, we face challenges just as big as those in the Spanish Flu Pandemic and the Great Depression—all at once. The tasks facing policy-makers are extraordinary. Many new kinds of intervention are urgently required. This issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy has two objectives. The first is to explore these new interventions: evaluating their use, suggesting how they might be improved, and proposing alternatives. The second is to show that the challenges facing us are global and will require international cooperation if they are to be dealt with effectively. This short introductory essay positions the papers in the issue within an overall conceptual framework, with the aim of telling an overarching story about the pandemic.
This paper investigates the importance of fiscal policy in providing macroeconomic stabilization in a monetary union. We use a microfounded New Keynesian model of a monetary union, which incorporates persistence in inflation and non-Ricardian consumers, and derive optimal simple rules for fiscal authorities. We find that fiscal policy can play an important role in reacting to inflation, output, and the terms of trade, but that not much is lost if national fiscal policy is restricted to react, on the one hand, to "national differences" in inflation and, on the other hand, to either national differences in output or changes in the terms of trade. However, welfare is reduced if national fiscal policy responds only to output, ignoring inflation. Copyright 2007 The Ohio State University.
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