What Should Central Bankers Do To Address PLOGs?

Obviously, to answer this question begs another:  What’s a PLOG? or perhaps:  Should we view central bankers as plumbers?  PLOG, a term coined by IMF economist Andre Meier, refers to Persistently Large Output Gap  or positive deviation between potential GDP and measured GDP.  The big concern raised by the LEX column in today’s Financial Times regards whether central bankers should worry about a deflationary double dip recession.  As Lex puts it:

“The supposed PLOG-effect creates a dilemma: the Scylla of deflation or the Charybdis of extraordinarily easy monetary policy.”

Based on Meier’s study of 25 episodes in advanced economies, Lex argues that recessions slowly reduce inflation rates and generally stop prior to serious deflation.  Therefore,  central bankers should not become preoccupied with such a threat.  Indeed, attempts to further stimulate economies such as ours with monetary policy is likely to be ineffective (or to use the proverbial idea: it’s like pushing on a string.)

I find the final sentence of the opinion piece particularly instructive.

“And while a PLOG may not create deflation, it can only amplify the grim economic effects of over-indebtedness, whatever policies central bankers adopt.”