Making a Statement: How Did Professional Forecasters React to the August 2011 FOMC Statement?
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement released on August 9, 2011, was the first to incorporate language on “forward guidance” with an explicit date tied to the Committee’s expected path of monetary policy. In this post, we exploit the timing of surveys taken before and after this statement’s release to investigate how professional forecasters changed their expectations of growth, inflation, and monetary policy. We find that the average forecast of the federal funds rate shifts considerably and closely aligns with the new language in the statement, while the average ...
Connecting “The Dots”: Disagreement in the Federal Open Market Committee
People disagree, and so do the members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). How much do they disagree? Why do they disagree? We look at the FOMC’s projections of the federal funds rate (FFR) and other variables and compare them with those in the New York Fed’s Survey of Primary Dealers (SPD). We show that the members of the FOMC tend to disagree more than the primary dealers and offer some potential explanations.
The FRBNY DSGE Model Forecast
The U.S. economy has been in a gradual but slow recovery. Will the future be more of the same? This post presents the current forecasts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s (FRBNY) DSGE model, described in our earlier “Bird’s Eye View” post, and discusses the driving forces behind the forecasts. Find the code used for estimating the model and producing all the charts in this blog series here. (We should reiterate that these are not the official New York Fed staff forecasts, but only an input to the overall forecasting process at the Bank.)
A Look at the Accuracy of Policy Expectations
Since the 1980s, the primary policy tool of the Federal Reserve has been the federal funds rate. Because expectations of the future path of the funds rate play a central role in the term structure of interest rates and thus the monetary transmission mechanism, it is important to know how accurate these expectations are in predicting the funds rate. In this post, we investigate this issue using a well-known survey of private sector forecasters. We find that forecasts tend to over-predict the funds rate in easing cycles and under-predict it in tightening cycles. In addition, while forecasts ...
Fundamental Disagreement: How Much and Why?
Everyone disagrees, even professional forecasters, especially about big economic questions. Has potential output growth changed since the financial crisis? Are we bound for a period of ?secular stagnation?? Will the European economy rebound? When is inflation getting back to mandate-consistent level? In this post, we document to what degree professional forecasters disagree and discuss potential reasons why.
What Drives Forecaster Disagreement about Monetary Policy?
What can disagreement teach us about how private forecasters perceive the conduct of monetary policy? In a previous post, we showed that private forecasters disagree about both the short-term and the long-term evolution of key macroeconomic variables but that the shape of this disagreement differs across variables. In contrast to their views on other macroeconomic variables, private forecasters disagree substantially about the level of the federal funds rate that will prevail in the medium to long term but very little on the rate at shorter horizons. In this post, we explore the possible ...
The science of monetary policy: an imperfect knowledge perspective
New Keynesian theory identifies a set of principles central to the design and implementation of monetary policy. These principles rely on the ability of a central bank to manage expectations precisely, with policy prescriptions typically derived under the assumption of perfect information and full rationality. However, the challenging macroeconomic environment bequeathed by the financial crisis has led many to question the efficacy of monetary policy, and, particularly, to question whether central banks can influence expectations with as much control as previously thought. In this paper, we ...
Central bank transparency and nonlinear learning dynamics
Central bank communication plays an important role in shaping market participants' expectations. This paper studies a simple nonlinear model of monetary policy in which agents have incomplete information about the economic environment. It shows that agents' learning and the dynamics of the economy are heavily affected by central bank transparency about its policy rule. A central bank that does not communicate its rule can induce "learning equilibria" in which the economy alternates between periods of deflation coupled with low output and periods of high economic activity with excessive ...
Stabilizing expectations under monetary and fiscal policy coordination
This paper analyzes how the formation of expectations constrains monetary and fiscal policy design. Economic agents have imperfect knowledge about the economic environment and the policy regime in place. Households and firms learn about the policy regime using historical data. Regime uncertainty substantially narrows, relative to a rational expectations analysis of the model, the menu of policies consistent with expectations stabilization. When agents are learning about the policy regime, there is greater need for policy coordination: the specific choice of monetary policy limits the set of ...
Long-term debt pricing and monetary policy transmission under imperfect knowledge
Under rational expectations, monetary policy is generally highly effective in stabilizing the economy. Aggregate demand management operates through the expectations hypothesis of the term structure: Anticipated movements in future short-term interest rates control current demand. This paper explores the effects of monetary policy under imperfect knowledge and incomplete markets. In this environment, the expectations hypothesis of the yield curve need not hold, a situation called unanchored financial market expectations. Whether or not financial market expectations are anchored, the private ...