Do actions speak louder than words? the response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements
We investigate the effects of U.S. monetary policy on asset prices using a high-frequency event-study analysis. We test whether these effects are adequately captured by a single factor--changes in the federal funds rate target-and find that they are not. Instead, we find that two factors are required. These factors have a structural interpretation as a "current federal funds rate target" factor and a "future path of policy" factor, with the latter closely associated with FOMC statements. We measure the effects of these two factors on bond yields and stock prices using a new intraday ...
Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations
A number of recent papers have used different financial market instruments to measure near-term expectations of the federal funds rate and the high-frequency changes in these instruments around FOMC announcements to measure monetary policy shocks. This paper evaluates the empirical success of a variety of financial market instruments in predicting the future path of monetary policy. All of the instruments we consider provide forecasts that are clearly superior to those of standard time series models at all of the horizons considered. Among financial market instruments, we find that federal ...
The effects of policy guidance on perceptions of the Fed’s reaction function
In the past few years, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has been using forward guidance about the federal funds rate in a more explicit way than ever before. This paper explores the market reaction to the forward guidance, with particular focus on the use of calendar dates and economic thresholds in the FOMC statement. The results show that market participants interpreted the FOMC?s policy guidance as conveying important information about the Committee?s policy reaction function. In particular, market participants came to expect the FOMC to wait for lower levels of unemployment for a ...
Does the Fed act gradually? a VAR analysis.
The tendency for changes in the federal funds rate to be implemented gradually has been considered evidence of an interest-rate smoothing objective for the Federal Reserve. This paper investigates whether gradual movements in the federal funds rate can be explained by the dynamic structure of the economy and the uncertainty that the Fed faces regarding this structure, without recourse to including an ad-hoc interest rate smoothing argument in the objective function of the Fed. The analysis calculates the optimal funds rate policy given the structural form of the economy estimated in a VAR. In ...
The excess sensitivity of long-term interest rates: evidence and implications for macroeconomic models
This paper demonstrates that long-term forward interest rates in the U.S. often react considerably to surprises in macroeconomic data releases and monetary policy announcements. This behavior is in contrast to the prediction of many macroeconomic models, in which the long-run properties of the economy are assumed to be time-invariant and perfectly known by all economic agents: Under those assumptions, the shocks we consider would have only transitory effects on short-term interest rates, and hence would not generate large responses in forward rates. Our empirical findings suggest that private ...
Measuring the reaction of monetary policy to the stock market
Movements in the stock market can have a significant impact on the macroeconomy and are therefore likely to be an important factor in the determination of monetary policy. However, little is known about the magnitude of the Federal Reserve's reaction to the stock market. One reason is that it is difficult to estimate the policy reaction because of the simultaneous response of equity prices to interest rate changes. This paper uses an identification technique based on the heteroskedasticity of stock market returns to identify the reaction of monetary policy to the stock market. The results ...
Interpreting the significance of lagged interest rate in estimated monetary policy rules
Many researchers have found that the lagged interest rate enters estimated monetary policy rules with overwhelming significance. However, a recent paper by Rudebusch (2002) argues that the lagged interest rate is not a fundamental component of the U.S. policy rule, and that its significance arises from the omission of serially correlated variables from the policy rule. This paper demonstrates that, contrary to Rudebusch's claims, these two hypotheses can be directly distinguished in the estimation of the policy rule. Our findings indicate that while serially correlated omitted variables may ...
Managing the Federal Reserve's balance sheet
Remarks at 2010 CFA Institute Fixed Income Management Conference, Newport Beach, California.
Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence
The Federal Reserve and other central banks tend to change short-term interest rates in sequences of small steps in the same direction and reverse the direction of interest rate movements only infrequently. These characteristics, often referred to as interest-rate smoothing, have led to criticism that policy responds too little and too late to macroeconomic developments, suggesting to some observers that the Federal Reserve has an objective of minimizing interest-rate volatility. This paper, however, argues that the observed degree of interest-rate smoothing may well represent optimal ...
Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations
A number of recent papers have used short-maturity financial instruments to measure expectations of the future course of monetary policy, and have used high-frequency changes in these instruments around FOMC dates to measure monetary policy shocks. This paper evaluates the empirical success of a variety of market instruments in predicting the future path of monetary policy. We find that federal funds futures dominate other market-based measures of monetary policy expectations at horizons out several months. For longer horizons, the predictive power of many of the instruments considered is ...