Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?
Lack of commitment in monetary policy leads to the well known Barro-Gordon inflation bias. In this paper, we argue that two phenomena associated with the time inconsistency problem have been overlooked in the exchange rate debate. We show that, absent commitment, independent monetary policy can also induce expectation traps-that is, welfare-ranked multiple equilibria-and perverse policy responses to real shocks-that is, an equilibrium policy response that is welfare inferior to policy inaction. Both possibilities imply higher macroeconomic volatility under flexible exchange rates than under ...
Can U.S. monetary policy fall (again) into an expectation trap?
We provide a tractable model to study monetary policy under discretion. We restrict our analysis to Markov equilibria. We find that for all parametrizations with an equilibrium inflation rate of about 2 percent, there is a second equilibrium with an inflation rate just above 10 percent. Thus, the model can simultaneously account for the low and high inflation episodes in the United States. We carefully characterize the set of Markov equilibria along the parameter space and find our results to be robust, suggesting that expectation traps are more than just a theoretical curiosity.
Closing Large Open Economy Models
A large class of international business cycle models admits multiple locally isolated deterministic steady states, if the elasticity of substitution between traded goods is sufficiently low. I explore the conditions under which such multiplicity occurs and characterize the dynamic properties in the neighborhood of each steady state. Models with standard incomplete markets, portfolio costs, a debt-elastic interest rate, or an overlapping generations framework allow for multiple steady states, if the model features multiple steady states under financial autarchy. If the excess demand for the ...
Oil shocks and the zero bound on nominal interest rates
Beginning in 2009, in many advanced economies, policy rates reached their zero lower bound (ZLB). Almost at the same time, oil prices started rising again. We analyze how the ZLB affects the propagation of oil shocks. As these shocks move inflation and output in opposite directions, their effects on economic activity are cushioned when monetary policy is constrained. The burst of inflation from an oil price increase lowers real interest rates at the ZLB and stimulates the interest-sensitive component of GDP, offsetting the usual contractionary effects. In fact, if the increase in oil prices ...
Commodity Prices and Labour Market Dynamics in Small Open Economies
We investigate the connection between commodity price shocks and unemployment in advanced resource-rich small open economies from an empirical and theoretical perspective. Shocks to commodity prices are shown to influence labour market conditions primarily through the real exchange rate. The empirical impact of commodity price shocks is obtained from estimating a panel vector autoregression; a positive price shock is found to expand the components of GDP, to cause the real exchange rate to appreciate, and to improve labour market conditions. For every one percent increase in commodity prices, ...
Social Distancing and Supply Disruptions in a Pandemic
Drastic public health measures such as social distancing or lockdowns can reduce the loss of human life by keeping the number of infected individuals from exceeding the capacity of the health care system but are often criticized because of the social and the economic cost they entail. We question this view by combining an epidemiological model, calibrated to capture the spread of the COVID-19 virus, with a multisector model, designed to capture key characteristics of the U.S. Input Output Tables. Our two-sector model features a core sector that produces intermediate inputs not easily replaced ...
Macroeconomic Policy Games
Strategic interactions between policymakers arise whenever each policymaker has distinct objectives. Deviating from full cooperation can result in large welfare losses. To facilitate the study of strategic interactions, we develop a toolbox that characterizes the welfare-maximizing cooperative Ramsey policies under full commitment and open-loop Nash games. Two examples for the use of our toolbox offer some novel results. The first example revisits the case of monetary policy coordination in a two-country model to confirm that our approach replicates well-known results in the literature and ...
Learning and Misperception: Implications for Price-Level Targeting
Monetary policy strategies that target the price level have been advocated as a more effective way to provide economic stimulus in a deep recession when conventional monetary policy is limited by the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates. Yet, the effectiveness of these strategies depends on a central bank's ability to steer agents' expectations about the future path of the policy rate. We develop a flexible method of learning about the central bank's policy rule from observed interest rates that takes into account the limited informational content at the zero lower bound. When agents ...
Employment, Wages and Optimal Monetary Policy
We study optimal monetary policy when the empirical evidence leaves the policymaker uncertain whether the true data-generating process is given by a model with sticky wages or a model with search and matching frictions in the labor market. Unless the policymaker is almost certain about the search and matching model being the correct data-generating process, the policymaker chooses to stabilize wage inflation at the expense of price inflation, a policy resembling the policy that is optimal in the sticky wage model, regardless of the true model. This finding reflects the greater sensitivity of ...
On Targeting Frameworks and Optimal Monetary Policy
Speed limit policy, a monetary policy strategy that focuses on stabilizing inflation and the change in the output gap, consistently delivers better welfare outcomes than flexible inflation targeting or flexible price level targeting in empirical New Keynesian models when policymakers lack the ability to commit to future policies. Even if the policymaker can commit under an inflation targeting strategy, the discretionary speed limit policy performs better for most empirically plausible model parameterizations from a normative perspective.