The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
I model deflation, at zero nominal interest rate, in a microfounded general equilibrium model. I show that deflation can be analyzed as a credibility problem if the government has only one policy instrument, money supply carried out by means of open market operations in short-term bonds, and cannot commit to future policies. I propose several policies to solve the credibility problem. They involve printing money or nominal debt and either (1) cutting taxes, (2) buying real assets such as stocks, or (3) purchasing foreign exchange. The government credibly "commits to being irresponsible" by using these policy instruments. It commits to higher money supply in the future so that the private sector expects inflation instead of deflation. This is optimal, since it curbs deflation and increases output by lowering the real rate of return.