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Author:Bodenstein, Martin 

Working Paper
Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?

The Barro-Gordon inflation bias has provided the most influential argument for fixed exchange rate regimes. However, with low inflation rates now widespread, credibility concerns seem no longer relevant. Why give up independent monetary policy to contain an inflation bias that is already under control? We argue that credibility problems do not end with the inflation bias and they are a larger drawback for flexible exchange rates than usually thought. Absent commitment, independent monetary policy can induce expectation traps---that is, welfare ranked multiple equilibria---and perverse policy ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 865

Working Paper
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.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-098

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-091

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-87

Working Paper
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 ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1009

Working Paper
Of nutters and doves

We argue that there are conditions such that any inflation targeting regime is preferable to full policy discretion, even if long-run inflation rates are identical across regimes. The key observation is that strict inflation targeting outperforms the discretionary policy response to sufficiently persistent shocks. Under full policy discretion, inflation expectations over the medium term respond to the shock and thereby amplify its impact on output. As a result, little output stabilization is achieved at the cost of large and persistent inflation fluctuations.
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 885

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-078

Report
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 ...
Staff Reports , Paper 230

Working Paper
Oil efficiency, demand, and prices: a tale of ups and downs

The macroeconomic implications of oil price fluctuations vary according to their sources. Our estimated two-country DSGE model distinguishes between country-specific oil supply shocks, various domestic and foreign activity shocks, and oil efficiency shocks. Changes in foreign oil efficiency, modeled as factor-augmenting technology, were the key driver of fluctuations in oil prices between 1984 and 2008, but have modest effects on U.S. activity. A pickup in foreign activity played an important role in the 2003-2008 oil price runup. Beyond quantifying the responses of oil prices and economic ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1031

Working Paper
Oil shocks and external adjustment

This paper investigates how oil price shocks affect the trade balance and terms of trade in a two country DSGE model. We show that the response of the external sector depends critically on the structure of financial market risk-sharing. Under incomplete markets, higher oil prices reduce the relative wealth of an oil-importing country, and induce its nonoil terms of trade to deteriorate, and its nonoil trade balance to improve. The magnitude of the nonoil terms of trade response hinges on structural parameters that affect the divergence in wealth effects across oil importers and exporters, ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 897

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