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Author:Laubach, Thomas 

Working Paper
Implications of habit formation for optimal monetary policy

We study the implications for optimal monetary policy of introducing habit formation in consumption into a general equilibrium model with sticky prices. Habit formation affects the model's endogenous dynamics through its effects on both aggregate demand and households' supply of output. We show that the objective of monetary policy consistent with welfare maximization includes output stabilization, as well as inflation and output gap stabilization. We find that the variance of output increases under optimal policy, even though it acquires a higher implicit weight in the welfare function. We ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2001-58

Discussion Paper
The Federal Reserve’s Review of Its Monetary Policy Framework: A Roadmap

In early 2019, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC or the Committee) launched a comprehensive review of its monetary policy framework (MPF)—the strategies, tools, and communication practices employed by the Federal Reserve to achieve its congressionally mandated goals of maximum employment and price stability.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2020-08-27

Working Paper
Welfare-maximizing monetary policy under parameter uncertainty

This paper examines welfare-maximizing monetary policy in an estimated micro-founded general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy where the policymaker faces uncertainty about model parameters. Uncertainty about parameters describing preferences and technology implies not only uncertainty about the dynamics of the economy. It also implies uncertainty about the model's utility-based welfare criterion and about the economy's natural rate measures of interest and output. We analyze the characteristics and performance of alternative monetary policy rules given the estimated uncertainty regarding ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2007-11

Discussion Paper
The FRB/US Model: A Tool for Macroeconomic Policy Analysis

The FRB/US model of the U.S. economy is one of several that Federal Reserve Board staff consults for forecasting and the analysis of macroeconomic issues, including both monetary and fiscal policy.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2014-04-03

Working Paper
Measuring the natural rate of interest

A key variable for the conduct of monetary policy is the natural rate of interest -- the real interest rate consistent with output equaling potential and stable inflation. Economic theory implies that the natural rate of interest varies over time and depends on the trend growth rate of output. In this paper we apply the Kalman filter to jointly estimate the natural rate of interest, potential output, and the trend growth rate, and examine the empirical relationship between these estimated unobserved series. We find substantial variation in the natural rate of interest over the past four ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2001-56

Working Paper
Learning and shifts in long-run productivity growth

Shifts in the long-run rate of productivity growth are difficult, in real time, to distinguish from transitory fluctuations. We analyze the evolution of forecasts of long-run productivity growth during the 1970s and 1990s and examine in a dynamic general equilibrium model the consequences of learning on the responses to shifts in the long-run productivity growth rate. We find that an updating rule based on an estimated Kalman filter model using real-time data describes economists' long-run productivity growth forecasts extremely well. We then show that learning has profound implications for ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2004-04

Journal Article
The value of interest rate smoothing : how the private sector helps the Federal Reserve

Most central banks conduct monetary policy by setting targets for overnight interest rates. During the 1990s, central banks have tended to move these interest rates in small steps without reversing direction quickly, a practice called interest rate smoothing. For example, the majority of Federal Reserve policy moves in the last decade and a half have come in a sequence of 25 basis point moves, in striking contrast to the early 1980s, when short-term interest rates fluctuated widely. In light of this historical contrast, it is natural to ask whether interest rate smoothing is a desirable way ...
Economic Review , Volume 84 , Issue Q III , Pages 47-64

Working Paper
Monetary policy in an estimated optimization-based model with sticky prices and wages

This paper serves two purposes. First, it provides estimates of an optimization-based equilibrium model with sticky prices and wages. Second, the estimated model is used to analyze the welfare properties of various interest rate rules for conducting monetary policy. As shown by Erceg et al. (1999), an important feature of this model is that it involves a tradeoff between the variances of price and wage inflation and the output gap. This tradeoff implies that it is desirable for the monetary authority to respond to more than inflation, output, and past interest rates when setting the current ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 99-09

Working Paper
Rule-of-thumb behaviour and monetary policy

We investigate the implications of rule-of-thumb behaviour on the part of consumers or price setters for optimal monetary policy and simple interest rate rules. The existence of such behaviour leads to endogenous persistence in output and inflation; changes the transmission of shocks to these variables; and alters the policymaker's welfare objective. Our main finding is that highly inertial policy is optimal regardless of what fraction of agents occasionally follow a rule of thumb. We also find that the interest rate rule that implements optimal policy in the purely optimising case, and a ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2002-5

Working Paper
Measuring the natural rate of interest redux

Persistently low real interest rates have prompted the question whether low interest rates are here to stay. This essay assesses the empirical evidence regarding the natural rate of interest in the United States using the Laubach-Williams model. Since the start of the Great Recession, the estimated natural rate of interest fell sharply and shows no sign of recovering. These results are robust to alternative model specifications. If the natural rate remains low, future episodes of hitting the zero lower bound are likely to be frequent and long-lasting. In addition, uncertainty about the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2015-16

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