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Understanding Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian Models: Insights from a PRANK
In recent years there has been a lot of interest in the effect of income inequality (heterogeneity) on the economy, from both academics and policymakers. Researchers have developed Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian (HANK) models that incorporate heterogeneity and uninsurable idiosyncratic risk into the New Keynesian models that have become a cornerstone of monetary policy analysis. This research has argued that heterogeneity and idiosyncratic risk change many features of New Keynesian models – the transmission of conventional monetary policy, the forward guidance puzzle, fiscal multipliers, ...
The side effects of safe asset creation
We present an incomplete markets model to understand the costs and benefits of increasing government debt in a low interest rate environment. Higher risk increases the demand for safe assets, lowering the natural rate of interest below zero, constraining monetary policy at the zero lower bound, and raising unemployment. Higher government debt satiates the demand for safe assets, raising the natural rate and restoring full employment. While this permanently lowers investment, a policymaker committed to low inflation has no alternative. Higher inflation targets, instead, permit both full ...
Slow recoveries and unemployment traps: monetary policy in a time of hysteresis
We analyze monetary policy in a model where temporary shocks can permanently scar the economy's productive capacity. Unemployed workers? skill losses generate multiple steady-state unemployment rates. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero bound, large shocks reduce hiring to a point where the economy recovers slowly at best?at worst, it falls into a permanent unemployment trap. Since monetary policy is powerless to escape such traps ex post, it must avoid them ex ante. The model quantitatively accounts for the slow U.S. recovery following the Great Recession, and suggests that lack ...
Understanding HANK: insights from a PRANK
We show analytically that whether incomplete markets resolve New Keynesian ?paradoxes? depends primarily on the cyclicality of income risk, rather than marginal propensity to consume (MPC) heterogeneity. Incomplete markets reduce the effectiveness of forward guidance and multipliers in a liquidity trap only with procyclical risk. Countercyclical risk amplifies these ?puzzles.? Procyclical risk permits determinacy under a peg; countercyclical risk generates indeterminacy even under the Taylor principle. MPC heterogeneity leaves determinacy and paradoxes qualitatively unaffected, but can change ...
Optimal Monetary Policy According to HANK
We study optimal monetary policy in a heterogeneous agent new Keynesian economy. A utilitarian planner seeks to reduce consumption inequality, in addition to stabilizing output gaps and inflation. The planner does so both by reducing income risk faced by households, and by reducing the pass-through from income to consumption risk, trading off the benefits of lower inequality against productive inefficiency and higher inflation. When income risk is countercyclical, policy curtails the fall in output in recessions to mitigate the increase in inequality. We uncover a new form of time ...
Escaping Unemployment Traps
Economic activity has remained subdued following the Great Recession. One interpretation of the listless recovery is that recessions inflict permanent damage on an economy?s productive capacity. For example, extended periods of high unemployment can lead to skill losses among workers, reducing human capital and lowering future output. This notion that temporary recessions have long-lasting consequences is often termed hysteresis. Another explanation for sluggish growth is the influential secular stagnation hypothesis, which attributes slow growth to long-term changes in the economy?s ...