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Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation: An Alternative Interpretation - Comment
Working with a small-scale calibrated New-Keynesian model, Coibion and Gorodnichenko (2011) find that the reduction in trend inflation during Volcker's mandate was a key factor behind the Great Moderation. We revisit this finding with an estimated New-Keynesian model with trend inflation and no indexation based on Christiano, Eichenbaum and Evans (2005). First, our simulations confirm Coibion and Gorodnichenko's (2011) main finding. Second, we show that a trend inflation-immune Taylor rule based on economic theory can avoid indeterminacy even at high levels of trend inflation such as those observed in the 1970s.
AUTHORS: Arias, Jonas E.; Ascari, Guido; Branzoli, Nicola; Castelnuovo, Efrem
The macroeconomics of trend inflation
Most macroeconomic models for monetary policy analysis are approximated around a zero inflation steady state, but most central banks target an inflation rate of about 2 percent. Many economists have recently proposed even higher inflation targets to reduce the incidence of the zero lower bound constraint on monetary policy. In this survey, we show that the conduct of monetary policy should be analyzed by appropriately accounting for the positive trend inflation targeted by policymakers. We first review empirical research on the evolution and dynamics of U.S. trend inflation and some proposed new measures to assess the volatility and persistence of trend-based inflation gaps. We then construct a Generalized New Keynesian model that accounts for a positive trend inflation. In this model an increase in trend inflation is associated with a more volatile and unstable economy and tends to destabilize inflation expectations. This analysis offers a note of caution regarding recent proposals to address the existing zero lower bound problem by raising the long-run inflation target.
AUTHORS: Ascari, Guido; Sbordone, Argia M.
POSITIVE TREND INFLATION AND DETERMINACY IN A MEDIUM-SIZED NEW KEYNESIAN MODEL
This paper studies the challenge that increasing the inflation target poses to equilibrium determinacy in a medium-sized New Keynesian model without indexation fitted to the Great Moderation era. For moderate targets of the inflation rate, such as 2 or 4 percent, the probability of determinacy is near one conditional on the monetary policy rule of the estimated model. However, this probability drops significantly conditional on model-free estimates of the monetary policy rule based on real-time data. The difference is driven by the larger response of the federal funds rate to the output gap associated with the latter estimates.
AUTHORS: Branzoli, Nicola; Arias, Jonas E.; Ascari, Guido; Castelnuovo, Efrem