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Using Brexit to Identify the Nature of Price Rigidities
Using price quote data that underpin the official U.K. consumer price index (CPI), we analyze the effects of the unexpected passing of the Brexit referendum to the dynamics of price adjustments. The sizable depreciation of the British pound that immediately followed Brexit works as a quasi-experiment, enabling us to study the transmission of a large common marginal cost shock to inflation as well as the distribution of prices within granular product categories. A large portion of the inflationary effect is attributable to the size of price adjustments, implying that a time-dependent ...
Approximating Multisector New Keynesian Models
We show that a calibrated three-sector model with a suitably chosen distribution of price stickiness can closely approximate the dynamic properties of New Keynesian models with a much larger number of sectors. The parameters of the approximate three-sector distribution are such that both the approximate and the original distributions share the same (i) average frequency of price changes, (ii) cross-sectional average of durations of price spells, (iii) cross-sectional standard deviation of durations of price spells, (iv) the cross-sectional skewness of durations of price spells, and (v) ...
Has the Fed Fallen behind the Curve This Year?
At the end of 2015, many forecasters, including some Fed policymakers, projected four hikes in the federal funds rate in 2016. Instead, there have been no increases so far this year. While this shift in Fed policy has puzzled some observers, such a course correction is not unusual from a historical perspective. In addition, given recent changes in economic conditions, the reduced federal funds rate path this year is completely consistent with past Fed behavior.
Taylor Rule Estimation by OLS
Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimation of monetary policy rules produces potentially inconsistent estimates of policy parameters. The reason is that central banks react to variables, such as inflation and the output gap, that are endogenous to monetary policy shocks. Endogeneity implies a correlation between regressors and the error term – hence, an asymptotic bias. In principle, Instrumental Variables (IV) estimation can solve this endogeneity problem. In practice, however, IV estimation poses challenges, as the validity of potential instruments depends on various unobserved features of ...
Labor markets in the global financial crisis
The impact of the global financial crisis on labor markets varied widely from country to country. In the United States, the unemployment rate nearly doubled from its pre-recession level. The rate rose much less in the United Kingdom and barely changed in Germany, despite larger declines in gross domestic product. Institutional and technological changes since the 1970s had previously made relationships between output and unemployment more homogeneous across countries. But the global financial crisis undid much of this convergence as countries adopted different labor market policies to adjust ...
Inflationary Effects of Fiscal Support to Households and Firms
Fiscal support measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic varied in their targeted beneficiaries. Relying on variability across 10 large economies, we study differences in the inflationary effects of fiscal support measures targeting consumers or businesses. Because conventional measures of real activity were distorted, we control for the underlying state of real economy using households sentiment data. We find that fiscal support measures to consumers, but not firms, had inflationary effects that manifested 5 weeks following the announcement and peaked at 12 weeks. The magnitude of the ...
Fed communication and the zero lower bound
After the onset of the global financial crisis, the Federal Reserve had to rely on other tools?including communication?to work around the constraints of being unable to lower the federal funds rate below zero. One way to assess how effective these communications were is by estimating how interest rates on bonds with different maturities reacted to Fed communications before and after the zero-bound period. A measure based on news reports of Fed communications suggests that this tool gave the Fed some ability to affect long-term yields through its communications.
Household expectations and monetary policy
Helping the public understand how monetary policy is conducted is an important goal for the Federal Reserve. One way to measure people?s understanding is through surveys that show household expectations for the economy. Responses from the Michigan survey show some groups of households appear to hold beliefs consistent with basic features of U.S. policy. In particular, households with higher incomes and more education appear to better grasp how interest rates relate to inflation and unemployment, particularly during times of labor market weakness.
Are U.S. corporate bonds exposed to Europe?
The European sovereign debt crisis has created tensions in the global corporate debt market. Investors increasingly hold international assets and companies issue bonds in many countries. Thus, shocks to the European corporate bond market are readily transmitted to the U.S. corporate bond market. However, the rate of transmission is less than one-to-one. Moreover, different segments of the U.S. market vary in the magnitude of their response to European shocks. In particular, higher-rated nonfinancial borrowers and lower-rated financial borrowers are less affected on average.
Factor Specificity and Real Rigidities
We develop a multisector model in which capital and labor are free to move across firms within each sector, but cannot move across sectors. To isolate the role of sectoral specificity, we compare our model with otherwise identical multisector economies with either economy-wide factor markets (as in Chari et al. 2000) or firm-specific factor markets (as in Woodford 2005). Sectoral specificity induces within-sector strategic substitutability and across-sector strategic complementarity in price setting. Our model can produce either more or less monetary non-neutrality than those other two ...