Chapter 37: Macro Policy in a Global Setting

Chapter Goals Discuss why there is significant debate about what U.S. international goals should be Describe the paths through which monetary and fiscal policy affect the trade balance Summarize the reasons why governments try to coordinate their monetary and fiscal policies Explain how restoring U.S. competitiveness will likely affect U.S. policy in the future

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The actual rate of exchange is largely governed by the expected behavior of the country’s monetary authority. — Dennis RobertsonMacro Policy in a Global SettingCopyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.McGraw-Hill/IrwinChapter GoalsDiscuss why there is significant debate about what U.S. international goals should beDescribe the paths through which monetary and fiscal policy affect the trade balanceSummarize the reasons why governments try to coordinate their monetary and fiscal policiesExplain how restoring U.S. competitiveness will likely affect U.S. policy in the futureAmbiguous International Goals of Macroeconomic PolicyThere is general agreement about the domestic goals of macroeconomic policy: We want low inflation, low unemployment, and high growthThe international goal of U.S. macro policy is to maintain the U.S. position in the world economy, but there is debate about what achieving that goal meansDo we want a high or a low exchange rate?Do we want a balance of trade surplus or a trade deficit?Should we even pay attention to the balance of trade?The Exchange Rate GoalDepending on the state of the economy, there are arguments for both high and low exchange ratesAdvantages of high exchange rates:Foreign currencies are cheaper, so imports are cheaperCompetition from cheaper imports keeps U.S. inflation lowDisadvantages of high exchange rates:Imports increase and exports decrease causing a trade deficitTrade deficits can have a contractionary effect on the economy and have contributed to the structural stagnation the U.S. economy has recently experiencedThe Trade Balance GoalThe trade balance is the difference between a country’s exports and importsRunning a trade deficit in the short run has positive and negative effectsImports exceed exports, so we’re consuming more than we could if we didn’t run a deficitThere is less demand for U.S. goods leading to higher unemployment, slower growth, and lower potential outputInternational versus Domestic GoalsDomestic goals generally dominate the international goals because:Domestic goals (low inflation, low unemployment, and high growth) affect citizens directlyThere is general agreement as to what domestic goals areOften a country responds to an international goal only when the international community forces it to do soAs countries become more economically integrated, these pressures from other countries become more importantBalancing the Exchange Rate Goal with Domestic GoalsIn principle, the government can control the exchange rate with monetary policyThe problem with doing so is that monetary policy also affects the domestic economy Expansionary monetary policy will push the exchange rate downContractionary monetary policy will push the exchange rate up and may decrease domestic income and jobsIn order to achieve a certain exchange rate, a country may have to sacrifice domestic goalsMonetary Policy’s Effect on the Trade BalanceExpansionary monetary policy makes the trade deficit largerContractionary monetary policy makes the trade deficit smallerMYImportsTrade deficitMYImportsTrade deficitFiscal Policy’s Effect on the Trade BalanceExpansionary fiscal policy makes the trade deficit largerContractionary fiscal policy makes the trade deficit smallerFiscalYImportsTrade deficitFiscalYImportsTrade deficitInternational Phenomena and Domestic GoalsInternational phenomena change and have significant influences on the domestic economyIf other countries stop buying U.S. assets that are financing the large trade deficit, the dollar exchange rate will fallIn the short run, the fall in the dollar will increase the prices of imports, creating inflation in the U.SIn the long run, the fall in the exchange rate will improve the competitiveness of the U.S. and increase exportsInternational Monetary and Fiscal CoordinationGovernments try to coordinate their monetary and fiscal policies because their economies are interdependentIf one country’s trade balance is in surplus, another country’s is in deficitPolicy coordination is the integration of a country’s policies to take account of their global effectsEach nation will likely do what is best for the world economy as long as it is also best for itselfCrowding Out and International ConsiderationsCrowding out that may result from financing the debt can be avoided if the debt is internationalized when foreigners buy the debt at the existing interest rateInternationalizing the debt may be a short-run solution, but it can create long-run problemsForeign ownership of a country’s debt means the country must pay interest to those foreigners and the debt will eventually have to be repaid or refinancedInternational Issues and Macro PolicyThe more globally connected a country is, the less flexibility it has with monetary and fiscal policyA country can respond to international pressure faster if it has flexible exchange ratesAn alternative to using monetary and fiscal policy to meet international goals is trade policy designed to affect the level of exports and importsMacro policy is short-run policy, which must be conducted within a longer-range setting of the country’s overall competitiveness which is the ability of a country to sell its goods to other countriesRestoring International Trade Balance to the U.S. EconomyThe large demand for U.S. assets has allowed the U.S. to lose its comparative advantage in the production of many goods and services and run a trade deficitAs long as other countries are willing to accept U.S. currency or U.S. assets in payment for goods they produce, the U.S. can continue to run a trade deficit at the current exchange rateChapter Summary The international goals of a country are often in disputeDomestic goals generally dominate international goals, but countries often respond to an international goal when forced to do so by other countriesExpansionary monetary policy, through its effect on income, increases a country’s trade deficitContractionary fiscal policy tends to decrease a country’s trade deficitChapter Summary For every effect that monetary and fiscal policies have on a country’s exchange rate and trade balance, there is an equal and opposite effect on foreign countries’ exchange rates and trade balancesTherefore, countries try to coordinate their policiesInternational financial inflows can reduce crowding outInternationalizing a country’s debt means that in the future the country must consume less than it producesThe U.S. has lost its competitiveness in the production of many goods.
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