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Author:Atkeson, Andrew 

Report
If exchange rates are random walks, then almost everything we say about monetary policy is wrong

The key question asked by standard monetary models used for policy analysis, How do changes in short-term interest rates affect the economy? All of the standard models imply that such changes in interest rates affect the economy by altering the conditional means of the macroeconomic aggregates and have no effect on the conditional variances of these aggregates. We argue that the data on exchange rates imply nearly the opposite: the observation that exchange rates are approximately random walks implies that fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in ...
Staff Report , Paper 388

Report
Money, interest rates, and exchange rates with endogenously segmented markets

This paper analyzes the effects of money injections on interest rates and exchange rates in a model in which agents must pay a Baumol-Tobin style fixed cost to exchange bonds and money. Asset markets are endogenously segmented because this fixed cost leads agents to trade bonds and money only infrequently. When the government injects money through an open market operation, only those agents that are currently trading absorb these injections. Through their impact on these agents? consumption, these money injections affect real interest rates and real exchange rates. We show that the model ...
Staff Report , Paper 278

Working Paper
On the need for a new approach to analyzing monetary policy

Working Papers , Paper 662

Report
The optimal degree of discretion in monetary policy

How much discretion should the monetary authority have in setting its policy? This question is analyzed in an economy with an agreed-upon social welfare function that depends on the randomly fluctuating state of the economy. The monetary authority has private information about that state. In the model, well-designed rules trade off society?s desire to give the monetary authority discretion to react to its private information against society?s need to guard against the time inconsistency problem arising from the temptation to stimulate the economy with unexpected inflation. Although this ...
Staff Report , Paper 326

Report
What Will be the Economic Impact of COVID-19 in the US? Rough Estimates of Disease Scenarios

This note is intended to introduce economists to a simple SIR model of the progression of COVID-19 in the United States over the next 12-18 months. An SIR model is a Markov model of the spread of an epidemic in a population in which the total population is divided into categories of being susceptible to the disease (S), actively infected with the disease (I), and recovered (or dead) and no longer contagious (R). How an epidemic plays out over time is determined by the transition rates between these three states. This model allows for quantitative statements regarding the tradeoff between the ...
Staff Report , Paper 595

Report
On the optimal choice of a monetary policy instrument

The optimal choice of a monetary policy instrument depends on how tight and transparent the available instruments are and on whether policymakers can commit to future policies. Tightness is always desirable; transparency is only if policymakers cannot commit. Interest rates, which can be made endogenously tight, have a natural advantage over money growth and exchange rates, which cannot. As prices, interest and exchange rates are more transparent than money growth. All else equal, the best instrument is interest rates and the next-best, exchange rates. These findings are consistent with the ...
Staff Report , Paper 394

Working Paper
If exchange rates are random walks then almost everything we say about monetary policy is wrong

The key question asked by standard monetary models used for policy analysis is how do changes in short term interest rates affect the economy. All of the standard models imply that such changes in interest rates affect the economy by altering the conditional means of the macroeconomic aggregates and have no effect on the conditional variances of these aggregates. We argue that the data on exchange rates imply nearly the opposite: fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in conditional variances and nearly no changes in conditional means. In this sense ...
Working Papers , Paper 650

Working Paper
Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices

Data on international relative prices from industrialized countries show large and systematic deviations from relative purchasing power parity. We embed a model of imperfect competition and variable markups in some of the recently developed quantitative models of international trade to examine whether such models can reproduce the main features of the fluctuations in international relative prices. We find that when our model is parameterized to match salient features of the data on international trade and market structure in the U.S., it reproduces deviations from relative purchasing power ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2007-26

Report
Money and interest rates with endogeneously segmented markets

This paper analyses the effects of open market operations on interest rates in a model in which agents must pay a fixed cost to exchange assets and cash. Asset markets are endogenously segmented in that some agents choose to pay the fixed cost and some do not. When the fixed cost is zero, the model reduces to the standard one in which persistent money injections increase nominal interest rates, flatten the yield curve, and lead to a downward-sloping yield curve on average. In contrast, if markets are sufficiently segmented, then persistent money injections decrease interest rates, steepen or ...
Staff Report , Paper 260

Conference Paper
The transition to a new economy after the Second Industrial Revolution

During the Second Industrial Revolution, 1860?1900, many new technologies, including electricity, were invented. After this revolution, however, several decades passed before these new technologies diffused and measured productivity growth increased. We build a quantitative model of technology diffusion which we use to study this transition to a new economy. We show that the model implies both slow diffusion and a delay in growth similar to that in the data. Our model casts doubt, however, on the conjecture that this experience is a useful parallel for understanding the productivity paradox ...
Proceedings , Issue Nov

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