Assessing changes in the monetary transmission mechanism: a VAR approach
Paper for a conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York entitled Financial Innovation and Monetary Transmission
DSGE forecasts of the lost recovery
The years following the Great Recession were challenging for forecasters. Unlike other deep downturns, this recession was not followed by a swift recovery, but generated a sizable and persistent output gap that was not accompanied by deflation as a traditional Phillips curve relationship would have predicted. Moreover, the zero lower bound and unconventional monetary policy generated an unprecedented policy environment. We document the real real-time forecasting performance of the New York Fed dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model during this period and explain the results using ...
Why Are Interest Rates So Low?
In a recent series of blog posts, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Ben Bernanke, has asked the question: 'Why are interest rates so low?' (See part 1, part 2, and part 3.) He refers, of course, to the fact that the U.S. government is able to borrow at an annualized rate of around 2 percent for ten years, or around 3 percent for thirty years. If you expect that inflation is going to be on average 2 percent over the next ten or thirty years, this implies that the U.S. government can borrow at real rates of interest between 0 and 1 percent at the ten- and thirty-year ...
Optimal interest rate rules and inflation stabilization versus price-level stabilization
This paper compares the properties of interest rate rules such as simple Taylor rules and rules that respond to price-level fluctuations?called Wicksellian rules?in a basic forward-looking model. By introducing appropriate history dependence in policy, Wicksellian rules perform better than optimal Taylor rules in terms of welfare and robustness to alternative shock processes, and they are less prone to equilibrium indeterminacy. A simple Wicksellian rule augmented with a high degree of interest rate inertia resembles a robustly optimal rule?that is, a monetary policy rule that implements the ...
Forecasting with the FRBNY DSGE Model
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has built a DSGE model as part of its efforts to forecast the U.S. economy. On Liberty Street Economics, we are publishing a weeklong series to provide some background on the model and its use for policy analysis and forecasting, as well as its forecasting performance. In this post, we briefly discuss what DSGE models are, explain their usefulness as a forecasting tool, and preview the forthcoming pieces in this series.
Average Inflation over the Pandemic Avoids 'Base-Effect' Distortions
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year, the nation has seen enormous swings in consumer prices, with extraordinary declines last spring giving way to similarly eye-popping increases as the economy has reopened.
The Macro Effects of the Recent Swing in Financial Conditions
Credit conditions tightened considerably in the second half of 2015 and U.S. growth slowed. We estimate the extent to which tighter credit conditions last year were responsible for the slowdown using the FRBNY DSGE model. We find that growth would have slowed substantially more had the Federal Reserve not delayed liftoff in the federal funds rate.
A Time-Series Perspective on Safety, Liquidity, and Low Interest Rates
The previous post in this series discussed several possible explanations for the trend decline in U.S. real interest rates since the late 1990s. We noted that while interest rates have generally come down over the past two decades, this decline has been more pronounced for Treasury securities. The conclusion that we draw from this evidence is that the convenience associated with the safety and liquidity embedded in Treasuries is an important driver of the secular (long-term) decline in Treasury yields. In this post and the next, we provide an overview of the two complementary empirical ...
Global trends in interest rates
The trend in the world real interest rate for safe and liquid assets fluctuated close to 2 percent for more than a century, but has dropped significantly over the past three decades. This decline has been common among advanced economies, as trends in real interest rates across countries have converged over this period. It was driven by an increase in the convenience yield for safety and liquidity and by lower global economic growth.
How forward-looking is optimal monetary policy?
We calculate optimal monetary policy rules for several variants of a simple optimizing model of the monetary transmission mechanism with sticky prices and/or wages. We show that robustly optimal rules can be represented by interest-rate feedback rules that generalize the celebrated proposal of Taylor (1993). Optimal rules, however, require that the current interest rate operating target depend positively on the recent past level of the operating target, and its recent rate of increase, in a way that is characteristic of estimated central bank reaction functions, but not of Taylor's proposal.