The Effects of the Saving and Banking Glut on the U.S. Economy
We use a quantitative equilibrium model with houses, collateralized debt and foreign borrowing to study the impact of global imbalances on the U.S. economy in the 2000s. Our results suggest that the dynamics of foreign capital flows account for between one fourth and one third of the increase in U.S. house prices and household debt that preceded the financial crisis. The key to these findings is that the model generates the sustained low level of interest rates observed over that period.
Forecasting with the FRBNY DSGE Model
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has built a DSGE model as part of its efforts to forecast the U.S. economy. On Liberty Street Economics, we are publishing a weeklong series to provide some background on the model and its use for policy analysis and forecasting, as well as its forecasting performance. In this post, we briefly discuss what DSGE models are, explain their usefulness as a forecasting tool, and preview the forthcoming pieces in this series.
A Bird's Eye View of the FRBNY DSGE Model
Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models provide a stylized representation of reality. As such, they do not attempt to model all the myriad relationships that characterize economies, focusing instead on the key interactions among critical economic actors. In this post, we discuss which of these interactions are captured by the FRBNY model and describe how we quantify them using macroeconomic data. For more curious readers, this New York Fed working paper provides much greater detail on these and other aspects of the model.
Credit Supply and the Housing Boom
There is no consensus among economists as to what drove the rise of U.S. house prices and household debt in the period leading up to the recent financial crisis. In this post, we argue that the fundamental factor behind that boom was an increase in the supply of mortgage credit, which was brought about by securitization and shadow banking, along with a surge in capital inflows from abroad. This argument is based on the interpretation of four macroeconomic developments between 2000 and 2006 provided by a general equilibrium model of housing and credit.
CONDI: a cost-of-nominal-distortions index
We construct a price index with weights on the prices of different PCE goods chosen to minimize the welfare costs of nominal distortions: a cost-of-nominal-distortions index (CONDI). We compute these weights in a multisector New Keynesian model with time-dependent price setting, calibrated using U.S. data on the dispersion of price stickiness and labor shares across sectors. We find that the CONDI weights mostly depend on price stickiness and are less affected by the dispersion in labor shares. Moreover, CONDI stabilization leads to negligible welfare losses compared to the optimal policy and ...
Has U.S. Monetary Policy Tracked the Efficient Interest Rate?
Interest rate decisions by central banks are universally discussed in terms of Taylor rules, which describe policy rates as responding to inflation and some measure of the output gap. We show that an alternative specification of the monetary policy reaction function, in which the interest rate tracks the evolution of a Wicksellian efficient rate of return as the primary indicator of real activity, fits the U.S. data better than otherwise identical Taylor rules. This surprising result holds for a wide variety of specifications of the other ingredients of the policy rule and of approaches to ...
A Time-Series Perspective on Safety, Liquidity, and Low Interest Rates
The previous post in this series discussed several possible explanations for the trend decline in U.S. real interest rates since the late 1990s. We noted that while interest rates have generally come down over the past two decades, this decline has been more pronounced for Treasury securities. The conclusion that we draw from this evidence is that the convenience associated with the safety and liquidity embedded in Treasuries is an important driver of the secular (long-term) decline in Treasury yields. In this post and the next, we provide an overview of the two complementary empirical ...
Global trends in interest rates
The trend in the world real interest rate for safe and liquid assets fluctuated close to 2 percent for more than a century, but has dropped significantly over the past three decades. This decline has been common among advanced economies, as trends in real interest rates across countries have converged over this period. It was driven by an increase in the convenience yield for safety and liquidity and by lower global economic growth.
Evaluating interest rate rules in an estimated DSGE model
The empirical DSGE (dynamic stochastic general equilibrium) literature pays surprisingly little attention to the behavior of the monetary authority. Alternative policy rule specifications abound, but their relative merit is rarely discussed. We contribute to filling this gap by comparing the fit of a large set of interest rate rules (fifty-five in total), which we estimate within a simple New Keynesian model. We find that specifications in which monetary policy responds to inflation and to deviations of output from its efficient level?the one that would prevail in the absence of ...
Credit Supply and the Housing Boom
The housing boom that preceded the Great Recession was due to an increase in credit supply driven by looser lending constraints in the mortgage market. This view on the fundamental drivers of the boom is consistent with four empirical observations: the unprecedented rise in home prices and household debt, the stability of debt relative to house values, and the fall in mortgage rates. These facts are difficult to reconcile with the popular view that attributes the housing boom to looser borrowing constraints associated with lower collateral requirements. In fact, a slackening of collateral ...