The risks to the inflation outlook
Although inflation is currently low, some commentators fear that continued highly accommodative monetary policy may lead to a surge in inflation. However, projections that account for the different policy tools used by the Federal Reserve suggest that inflation will remain low in the near future. Moreover, the relative odds of low inflation outweigh those of high inflation, which is the opposite of historical projections. An important factor continuing to hold down inflation is the persistent effects of the financial crisis.
How stimulatory are large-scale asset purchases?
The Federal Reserve?s large-scale purchases of long-term Treasury securities most likely provided a moderate boost to economic growth and inflation. Importantly, the effects appear to depend greatly on the Fed?s guidance that short-term interest rates would remain low for an extended period. Indeed, estimates from a macroeconomic model suggest that such interest rate forward guidance probably has greater effects than signals about the amount of assets purchased.
How Much Could Negative Rates Have Helped the Recovery?
The Federal Reserve dropped the federal funds rate to near zero during the Great Recession to bolster the U.S. economy. Allowing the federal funds rate to drop below zero may have reduced the depth of the recession and enabled the economy to return more quickly to its full potential. It also may have allowed inflation to rise faster toward the Fed?s 2% target. In other words, negative interest rates may be a useful tool to promote the Fed?s dual mandate.
Conventional and unconventional monetary policy
We extend a standard New Keynesian model both to incorporate heterogeneity in spending opportunities along with two sources of (potentially time-varying) credit spreads and to allow a role for the central bank's balance sheet in determining equilibrium. We use the model to investigate the implications of imperfect financial intermediation for familiar monetary policy prescriptions and to consider additional dimensions of central bank policy--variations in the size and composition of the central bank's balance sheet as well as payment of interest on reserves--alongside the traditional question ...
Monetary Regime Change and Business Cycles
This paper proposes a simple method to structurally estimate a model over a period of time containing a regime shift. It then evaluates to which degree it is relevant to explicitly acknowledge the break in the estimation procedure. We apply our method on Swedish data, and estimate a DSGE model explicitly taking into account the monetary regime change in 1993, from exchange rate targeting to inflation targeting. We show that ignoring the break in the estimation leads to spurious estimates of model parameters including parameters in both policy and non-policy economic relations. Accounting for ...
Monetary Policy Tradeoffs and the Federal Reserve's Dual Mandate
Some key structural features of the U.S. economy appear to have changed in the recent decades, making the conduct of monetary policy more challenging. In particular, there is high uncertainty about the levels of the natural rate of interest and unemployment as well as about the effect of economic activity on inflation. At the same time, a prolonged period of below-target inflation has raised concerns about the unanchoring of inflation expectations at levels below the Federal Open Market Committee’s inflation target. In addition, a low natural rate of interest increases the probability of ...
Evaluating interest rate rules in an estimated DSGE model
The empirical DSGE (dynamic stochastic general equilibrium) literature pays surprisingly little attention to the behavior of the monetary authority. Alternative policy rule specifications abound, but their relative merit is rarely discussed. We contribute to filling this gap by comparing the fit of a large set of interest rate rules (fifty-five in total), which we estimate within a simple New Keynesian model. We find that specifications in which monetary policy responds to inflation and to deviations of output from its efficient level?the one that would prevail in the absence of ...
Why so slow? A gradual return for interest rates
Short-term interest rates in the United States have been very low since the financial crisis. Projections of the natural rate of interest indicate that a gradual return of short-term interest rates to normal over the next five years is consistent with promoting maximum employment and stable inflation. Uncertainty about the natural rate that is most consistent with an economy at its full potential suggests that the pace of normalization may be even more gradual than implied by these projections.
Correlated disturbances and U.S. business cycles
The dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models used to study business cycles typically assume that exogenous disturbances are independent first-order autoregressions. This paper relaxes this tight and arbitrary restriction by allowing for disturbances that have a rich contemporaneous and dynamic correlation structure. Our first contribution is a new Bayesian econometric method that uses conjugate conditionals to allow for feasible and quick estimation of DSGE models with correlated disturbances. Our second contribution is a reexamination of U.S. business cycles. We find that ...
Rare Shocks, Great Recessions
We estimate a DSGE model where rare large shocks can occur, by replacing the commonly used Gaussian assumption with a Student-t distribution. Results from the Smets and Wouters (2007) model estimated on the usual set of macroeconomic time series over the 1964-2011 period indicate that the Student-t specification is strongly favored by the data even when we allow for low-frequency variation in the volatility of the shocks, and that the estimated degrees of freedom are quite low for several shocks that drive U.S. business cycles, implying an important role for rare large shocks. This result ...