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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 ...
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 ...
Pandemic Recessions and Contact Tracing
We study contact tracing in a new macro-epidemiological model in which infected agents may not show any symptoms of the disease and the availability of tests to detect these asymptomatic spreaders of the virus is limited. Contact tracing is a testing strategy aiming at reconstructing the infection chain of newly symptomatic agents. A coordination failure arises as agents fail to internalize that their individual consumption and labor decisions raise the number of traceable contacts to be tested, threatening the viability of the tracing system. The collapse of the tracing system considerably ...