Operation Twist and the effect of large-scale asset purchases
The Federal Reserve's current large-scale asset purchase program, dubbed "QE2," has a precedent in a 1961 initiative by the Kennedy Administration and the Federal Reserve known as "Operation Twist." An analysis finds that four of six potentially market-moving Operation Twist announcements had statistically significant effects and that the program cumulatively caused a significant but moderate 0.15 percentage point reduction in longer-term Treasury yields. These results can be used to estimate QE2's effects.
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 ...
The zero lower bound and longer-term yields
The Federal Reserve lowered its traditional monetary policy instrument, the federal funds rate, to essentially zero in December 2008. However, economic activity generally depends on interest rates with longer maturities than the overnight fed funds rate. Research shows that interest rates with maturities of two years or more were largely unconstrained by the zero lower bound until at least late 2011. This suggests that, despite the zero bound, the Fed has been able to continue conducting monetary policy through medium- and longer-term interest rates by using forward guidance and large-scale ...
Implications of Labor Market Frictions for Risk Aversion and Risk Premia
A flexible labor margin allows households to absorb shocks to asset values with changes in hours worked as well as changes in consumption. This ability to absorb shocks along both margins can greatly alter the household?s attitudes toward risk, as shown in Swanson (2012). The present paper analyzes how frictional labor markets affect that analysis. Risk aversion is higher: 1) in recessions, 2) in countries with more frictional labor markets, and 3) for households that have more difficulty finding a job. These predictions are consistent with empirical evidence from a variety of sources. ...
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 ...
Identifying the effects of monetary policy shocks on exchange rates using high frequency data
This paper proposes a new approach to identifying the effects of monetary policy shocks in an international vector autoregression. Using high-frequency data on the prices of Fed Funds futures contracts, we measure the impact of the surprise component of the FOMC-day Federal Reserve policy decision on financial variables, such as the exchange rate and the foreign interest rate. We show how this information can be used to achieve identification without having to make the usual strong assumption of a recursive ordering.
Does inflation targeting anchor long-run inflation expectations? evidence from long-term bond yields in the U.S., U.K., and Sweden
We investigate the extent to which inflation targeting helps anchor long-run inflation expectations by comparing the behavior of daily bond yield data in the United Kingdom and Sweden--both inflation targeters--to that in the United States, a non-inflation-targeter. Using the difference between far-ahead forward rates on nominal and inflation-indexed bonds as a measure of compensation for expected inflation and inflation risk at long horizons, we examine how much, if at all, far-ahead forward inflation compensation moves in response to macroeconomic data releases and monetary policy ...
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 ...
Risk aversion, risk premia, and the labor margin with generalized recursive preferences
A flexible labor margin allows households to absorb shocks to asset values with changes in hours worked as well as changes in consumption. This ability to absorb shocks along either or both margins greatly alters the household?s attitudes toward risk, as shown by Swanson (2012). The present paper extends that work to the case of generalized recursive preferences, as in Epstein and Zin (1989) and Weil (1989), which are increasingly being used to bring macroeconomic models into closer agreement with basic asset pricing facts. Measures of risk aversion commonly used in the literature show no ...
Financial market imperfections and macroeconomics: conference summary
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco?s annual macroeconomics conference focused this year on the theme ?Financial Market Imperfections and Macroeconomics.? Conference papers> explored the empirical and theoretical performance of the U.S. and international economies before, during, and after a financial crisis. Financial crises are typically associated with severe economic downturns, but monetary policy can help to offset some of these effects. The unconventional monetary policies pursued by many central banks after the most recent crisis may have helped prevent it from becoming much ...