Imperfect credibility and the zero lower bound on the nominal interest rate
When the nominal interest rate reaches its zero lower bound, credibility is crucial for conducting forward guidance. We determine optimal policy in a New Keynesian model when the central bank has imperfect credibility and cannot set the nominal interest rate below zero. In our model, an announcement of a low interest rate for an extended period does not necessarily reflect high credibility. Even if the central bank does not face a temptation to act discretionarily in the current period, policy commitments should not be postponed. In reality, central banks are often reluctant to allow a ...
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, ...
The Effects of Foreign Shocks when Interest Rates are at Zero
In a two-country DSGE model, the effects of foreign demand shocks on the home country are greatly amplified if the home economy is constrained by the zero lower bound on policy interest rates. This result applies even to countries that are relatively closed to trade such as the United States. Departing from many of the existing closed-economy models, the duration of the liquidity trap is determined endogenously. Adverse foreign shocks can extend the duration of the trap, implying more contractionary effects for the home country. The home economy is more vulnerable to adverse foreign shocks if ...
International Asset Markets and Real Exchange Rate Volatility
The real exchange rate is very volatile relative to major macroeconomic aggregates and its correlation with the ratio of domestic over foreign consumption is negative (Backus-Smith puzzle). These two observations constitute a puzzle to standard international macroeconomic theory. This paper develops a two country model with complete asset markets and limited enforcement for international financial contracts that provides a possible explanation of these two puzzles. The model performs better than a standard incomplete markets model with a single non-contingent bond unless very tight borrowing ...
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.
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 ...
The Elusive Gains from Nationally-Oriented Monetary Policy
The consensus in the recent literature is that the gains from international monetary cooperation are negligible, and so are the costs of a breakdown in cooperation. However, when assessed conditionally on empirically-relevant dynamic developments of the economy, the welfare cost of moving away from regimes of explicit or implicit cooperation may rise to multiple times the cost of economic fluctuations. In economies with incomplete markets, the incentives to act non-cooperatively are driven by the emergence of global imbalances, i.e., large net-foreign-asset positions; and, in economies with ...
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.
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 ...
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 ...