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Author:Matthes, Christian 

Calculating the Natural Rate of Interest: A Comparison of Two Alternative Approaches

The natural rate of interest is a key concept in monetary economics because its level relative to the real rate of interest allows economists to assess the stance of monetary policy. However, the natural rate of interest cannot be observed; it must be calculated using identifying assumptions. This Economic Brief compares the popular Laubach-Williams approach to calculating the natural rate with an alternative method that imposes fewer theoretical restrictions. Both approaches indicate that the natural rate has been above the real rate for a long time.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue Oct

Working Paper
Extreme Weather and the Macroeconomy

Working Paper , Paper 21-14

Working Paper
Learning about fiscal policy and the effects of policy uncertainty

The recent crisis in the United States has often been associated with substantial amounts of policy uncertainty. In this paper we ask how uncertainty about fiscal policy affects the impact of fiscal policy changes on the economy when the government tries to counteract a deep recession. The agents in our model act as econometricians by estimating the policy rules for the different fiscal policy instruments, which include distortionary tax rates. ; Comparing the outcomes in our model to those under full-information rational expectations, we find that assuming the agents are not instantaneously ...
Working Paper , Paper 13-15

Journal Article
How Likely Is the Zero Lower Bound?

We estimate the probability that the federal funds rate will be at or below the zero lower bound over a ten-year time horizon. We do so by specifying and estimating a time-varying parameter vector autoregressive model for key US macroeconomic aggregates. Based on the estimated model, we generate a distribution of future outcomes from which we compute such probabilities. We find that the zero lower bound probability ranges between 15 percent and 30 percent in the longer term depending on the specific measure used. In the near term, this probability is effectively zero. Robustness checks for ...
Economic Quarterly , Issue 1Q , Pages 41-54

Working Paper
Indeterminacy and Imperfect Information

We study equilibrium determination in an environment where two kinds of agents have different information sets: The fully informed agents know the structure of the model and observe histories of all exogenous and endogenous variables. The less informed agents observe only a strict subset of the full information set. All types of agents form expectations rationally, but agents with limited information need to solve a dynamic signal extraction problem to gather information about the variables they do not observe. We show that for parameter values that imply a unique equilibrium under full ...
Working Paper , Paper 19-17

Working Paper
Inflation Measured Every Day Keeps Adverse Responses Away: Temporal Aggregation and Monetary Policy Transmission

Using daily inflation data from the Billion Prices Project [Cavallo and Rigobon (2016)], we show how temporal aggregation biases estimates of monetary policy transmission. We argue that the information mismatch between private agents and the econometrician —the source of temporal aggregation bias —is equally important as the more studied mismatch between private agents and the central bank (the “Fed information effect”). We find that the adverse response of daily inflation to high-frequency monetary policy shocks is short-lived, if present at all, in impulse responses from both local ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-054

Working Paper
Understanding the Size of the Government Spending Multiplier: It's in the Sign

The literature on the government spending multiplier has implicitly assumed that an increase in government spending has the same (mirror-image) effect as a decrease in government spending. We show that relaxing this assumption is important to understand the effects of fiscal policy. Regardless of whether we identify government spending shocks from (i) a narrative approach, or (ii) a timing restriction, we find that the contractionary multiplier?the multiplier associated with a negative shock to government spending?is above 1 and even larger in times of economic slack. In contrast, the ...
Working Paper , Paper 17-15

Working Paper
Monetary Policy Shocks: Data or Methods?

Different series of high-frequency monetary shocks can have a correlation coefficient as low as 0.5 and the same sign in only two-thirds of observations. Both data and methods drive these differences, which are starkest when the federal funds rate is at its effective lower bound. Methods that exploit the differential responsiveness of short- and long-term asset prices can incorporate additional information. After documenting differences in monetary shocks, we explore their consequence for inference. We find that empirical estimates of monetary policy transmission from local projections and ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2024-011

Working Paper
Gaussian Mixture Approximations of Impulse Responses and the Nonlinear Effects of Monetary Shocks

This paper proposes a new method to estimate the (possibly nonlinear) dynamic effects of structural shocks by using Gaussian basis functions to parametrize impulse response functions. We apply our approach to the study of monetary policy and obtain two main results. First, regardless of whether we identify monetary shocks from (i) a timing restriction, (ii) sign restrictions, or (iii) a narrative approach, the effects of monetary policy are highly asymmetric: A contractionary shock has a strong adverse effect on unemployment, but an expansionary shock has little effect. Second, an ...
Working Paper , Paper 16-8

Working Paper
Measurement Errors and Monetary Policy: Then and Now

Should policymakers and applied macroeconomists worry about the difference between real-time and final data? We tackle this question by using a VAR with time-varying parameters and stochastic volatility to show that the distinctionbetween real-time data and final data matters for the impact of monetary policy shocks: The impact on final data is substantially and systematically different (in particular, larger in magnitude for different measures of real activity) from theimpact on real-time data. These differences have persisted over the last 40 years and should be taken into account when ...
Working Paper , Paper 15-13


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