Signaling effects of monetary policy
We develop a DSGE model in which the policy rate signals the central bank's view about macroeconomic developments to incompletely informed price setters. The model is estimated with likelihood methods on a U.S. data set including the Survey of Professional Forecasters as a measure of price setters' expectations. The signaling effects of monetary policy are found to be empirically important and dampen the effects of monetary disturbances on inflation. While the signaling effects enhance the Federal Reserve's ability to stabilize the economy in the face of demand shocks, they play a small role ...
Inflation as a Fiscal Limit
Low and stable inflation requires an appropriate fiscal framework aimed at stabilizing government debt. Historically, trend inflation is critically influenced by actual or perceived changes to this framework, while cost-push shocks only account for short-lasting movements in inflation. Before the pandemic, a moderate level of fiscal inflation has counteracted deflationary pressures, helping the central bank to avoid deflation. The recent fiscal interventions in response to the Covid pandemic have altered the private sector’s beliefs about the fiscal framework, accelerating the recovery, but ...
Hitting the Elusive Inflation Target
Since the 2001 recession, average core inflation has been below the Federal Reserve?s 2% target. This deflationary bias is a predictable consequence of a low nominal interest rates environment in which the central bank follows a symmetric strategy to stabilize inflation. The deflationary bias increases if macroeconomic uncertainty rises or the natural real interest rate falls. An asymmetric rule according to which the central bank responds less aggressively to above-target inflation corrects the bias and allows inflation to converge to the central bank?s target. We show that adopting this ...
Bad Jobs and Low Inflation
The low rate of inflation observed in the U.S. over the entire past decade is hard to reconcile with traditional measures of labor market slack. We show that an alternative notion of slack that encompasses workers' propensity to search on the job explains this missing inflation. We derive this novel concept of slack from a model in which a drop in the on-the-job search rate lowers the intensity of interfirm wage competition to retain or hire workers. The on-the-job search rate can be measured directly from aggregate labor-market flows and is countercyclical. Its recent drop is corroborated by ...
The Role of News about TFP in U.S. Recessions and Booms
We develop a general equilibrium model to study the historical contribution of TFP news to the U.S. business cycle. Hiring frictions provide incentives for firms to start hiring ahead of an anticipated improvement in technology. For plausibly calibrated hiring costs, employment gradually rises in response to positive TFP news shocks even under standard preferences. TFP news shocks are identified mainly by current and expected unemployment rates since periods in which average unemployment is relatively high (low) are also periods in which average TFP growth is slow (fast). We work out the ...
How Tight is U.S. Monetary Policy
In this Chicago Fed Letter, we use a quantitative macroeconomic model to tackle the question of whether the response of the Federal Reserve (the Fed) to recent high inflation is consistent with its historical behavior. This is an important question because systematic deviations from past behavior could lead the private sector to revise its expectations about how the Fed will respond to inflation going forward, which, according to macroeconomic theory, could affect its ability to stabilize inflation in the future.
Learning Monetary Policy Strategies at the Effective Lower Bound with Sudden Surprises
Central banks around the world have revised their operating frameworks in an attempt to counter the challenges presented by the effective lower bound (ELB) on policy rates. We examine how private sector agents might learn such a new regime and the effect of future shocks on that process. In our model agents use Bayesian updating to learn the parameters of an asymmetric average inflation targeting rule that is adopted while at the ELB. Little can be discovered until the economy improves enough that rates would be near liftoff under the old policy regime; learning then proceeds until either the ...
The Macroeconomic Effects of the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act
The 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act raised government spending caps by $300 billion for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. While spending does not increase immediately, private sector investment and consumption may respond ahead of an anticipated fiscal stimulus. This Economic Perspectives article assesses the strength of this mechanism based on the private sector?s expectations.
Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency
We develop and estimate a general equilibrium model in which monetary policy can deviate from active inflation stabilization and agents face uncertainty about the nature of these deviations. When observing a deviation, agents conduct Bayesian learning to infer its likely duration. Under constrained discretion, only short deviations occur: Agents are confident about a prompt return to the active regime, macroeconomic uncertainty is low, welfare is high. However, if a deviation persists, agents? beliefs start drifting, uncertainty accelerates, and welfare declines. If the duration of the ...
Usual Shocks in our Usual Models
We propose an event-study research design to identify the nature and propagation of large unusual shocks in DSGE models and apply it to study the macroeconomic effects of the Covid shock. The initial outbreak is represented as the onset of a new shock process where the shock loads on wedges associated with the model's usual shocks. Realizations of the Covid shock come with news about its propagation, allowing us to disentangle the role of beliefs about the future of the pandemic. The model attributes a crucial role to the novel Covid shock in explaining the large contraction in output in the ...