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Author:Throckmorton, Nathaniel 

Working Paper
Forward guidance and the state of the economy
This paper examines forward guidance using a nonlinear New Keynesian model with a zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on the nominal interest rate. Forward guidance is modeled with news shocks to the monetary policy rule. The effectiveness of forward guidance depends on the state of the economy, the speed of the recovery, the ZLB constraint, the degree of uncertainty, the monetary response to inflation, the size of the news shocks, and the forward guidance horizon. Specifically, the stimulus from forward guidance falls as the economy deteriorates or as households expect a slower recovery. When the ZLB binds, less uncertainty about the economy or an expectation of a stronger response to inflation reduces the benefit of forward guidance. Forward guidance via a news shock is less stimulative than an unanticipated monetary policy shock around the steady state, but a news shock is more stimulative near the ZLB and always has a larger cumulative effect on output. When the central bank extends the forward guidance horizon, the cumulative effect initially increases but then decreases. These results indicate that there are limits to the stimulus forward guidance can provide, but that stimulus is largest when the news is communicated early in a recession.
AUTHORS: Keen, Benjamin D.; Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2016-11-08

Working Paper
Are nonlinear methods necessary at the zero lower bound?
This paper examines the importance of the zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on the nominal interest rate by estimating three variants of a small-scale New Keynesian model: (1) a nonlinear model with an occassionally binding ZLB constraint; (2) a constrained linear model, which imposes the constraint in the filter but not the solution; and (3) an unconstrained linear model, which never imposes the constraint. The posterior distributions are similar, but important differences arise in their predictions at the ZLB. The nonlinear model fits the data better at the ZLB and primarily attributes the ZLB to a reduction in household demand due to discount factor shocks. In the linear models, the ZLB is due to large contractionary monetary policy shocks, which is at odds with the Fed?s expansionary policy during the Great Recession. Posterior predictive analysis shows the nonlinear model is partially able to account for the increase in output volatility and the negative skewness in output and inflation that occurred during the ZLB period, whereas the linear models predict almost no changes in those statistics. We also compare the results from our nonlinear model to the quasi-linear solution based on OccBin. The quasi-linear model fits the data better than the linear models, but it still generate too little volatility at the ZLB and predicts that a large policy shock caused the ZLB to bind in 2008Q4.
AUTHORS: Throckmorton, Nathaniel; Richter, Alexander W.
DATE: 2016-08-02

Working Paper
The zero lower bound and endogenous uncertainty
This paper documents a strong negative correlation between macroeconomic uncertainty and real GDP growth since the Great Recession. Prior to that event the correlation was weak, even when conditioning on recessions. At the same time, many central banks reduced their policy rate to its zero lower bound (ZLB), which we contend contributed to the strong correlation between macroeconomic uncertainty and real GDP growth. To test that theory, we use a model where the ZLB occasionally binds. The model roughly matches the correlation in the data?away from the ZLB the correlation is weak but strongly negative when the ZLB binds.
AUTHORS: Throckmorton, Nathaniel; Plante, Michael D.; Richter, Alexander W.
DATE: 2014-05-21

Working Paper
Valuation Risk Revalued
The recent asset pricing literature finds valuation risk is an important determinant of key asset pricing moments. Valuation risk is modelled as a time preference shock within Epstein-Zin recursive utility preferences. While this form of valuation risk appears to fit the data extremely well, we show the preference specification violates an economically meaningful restriction on the weights in the Epstein-Zin time-aggregator. The same model with the corrected preference specification performs nearly as well at matching asset pricing moments, but only if the risk aversion parameter is well above the accepted range of values used in the literature. When the corrected preference specification is combined with Bansal-Yaron long-run risk, the estimated model significantly downgrades the role of valuation risk in determining asset prices. The only significant contribution of valuation risk is to help match the volatility of the risk-free rate.
AUTHORS: Throckmorton, Nathaniel; de Groot, Oliver; Richter, Alexander W.
DATE: 2018-07-20

Working Paper
A New Way to Quantify the Effect of Uncertainty
This paper develops a new way to quantify the effect of uncertainty and other higher-order moments. First, we estimate a nonlinear model using Bayesian methods with data on uncertainty, in addition to common macro time series. This key step allows us to decompose the exogenous and endogenous sources of uncertainty, calculate the effect of volatility following the cost of business cycles literature, and generate data-driven policy functions for any higherorder moment. Second, we use the Euler equation to analytically decompose consumption into several terms?expected consumption, the ex-ante real interest rate, and the ex-ante variance and skewness of future consumption, technology growth, and inflation?and then use the policy functions to filter the data and create a time series for the effect of each term. We apply our method to a familiar New Keynesian model with a zero lower bound constraint on the nominal interest rate and two stochastic volatility shocks, but it is adaptable to a broad class of models.
AUTHORS: Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2017-05-04

Working Paper
Uncertainty Shocks in a Model of Effective Demand: Comment
AUTHORS: de Groot, Oliver; Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2017-05-19

Working Paper
The Zero Lower Bound and Estimation Accuracy
During the Great Recession, many central banks lowered their policy rate to its zero lower bound (ZLB), creating a kink in the policy rule and calling into question linear estimation methods. There are two promising alternatives: estimate a fully nonlinear model that accounts for precautionary savings effects of the ZLB or a piecewise linear model that is much faster but ignores the precautionary savings effects. Repeated estimation with artificial datasets reveals some advantages of the nonlinear model, but they are not large enough to justify the longer estimation time, regardless of the ZLB duration in the data. Misspecification of the estimated models has a much larger impact on accuracy. It biases the parameter estimates and creates significant differences between the predictions of the models and the data generating process.
AUTHORS: Atkinson, Tyler; Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2018-05-07

Working Paper
Global dynamics at the zero lower bound
This article presents global solutions to standard New Keynesian models to show how economic dynamics change when the nominal interest rate is constrained at its zero lower bound (ZLB). We focus on the canonical New Keynesian model without capital, but we also study the model with capital, with and without investment adjustment costs. Our solution method emphasizes accuracy to capture the expectational effects of hitting the ZLB and returning to a positive interest rate. We find that the response to a technology shock has perverse consequences when the ZLB binds, even when a discount factor shock drives the interest rate to zero. Although we do not model the large scale asset purchases used by the Fed since 2009, our results suggest that the economy may have trouble recovering if the interest rate remains at zero. Given the perverse dynamics at the ZLB, we evaluate how monetary policy affects the likelihood of encountering the ZLB. We find that the probability of hitting the ZLB depends importantly on the monetary policy rule. A policy rule based on a dual mandate, such as the one proposed by Taylor (1993), is more likely to cause ZLB events when the central bank places greater emphasis on the output gap.
AUTHORS: Gavin, William T.; Keen, Benjamin D.; Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2013

Working Paper
The stimulative effect of forward guidance
This paper examines the stimulative effect of central bank forward guidance?the promise to keep future policy rates lower than its policy rule suggests?when the short-term nominal interest rate is stuck at its zero lower bound (ZLB).We utilize a standard New Keynesian model in which forward guidance enters our model as news shocks to the monetary policy rule. Three key findings emerge: (1) Forward guidance is more stimulative at the ZLB when households believe the economic recovery will be strong. When households expect a weak recovery or initially have low confidence in the economy, forward guidance is less stimulative because interest rates are already expected to remain low; (2) Longer forward guidance horizons do not cause the stimulative effect to explode or reverse, but rather spread the effect across the entire horizon; and (3) Failing to include a ZLB constraint causes the model to substantially overstate the stimulative effect of forward guidance. Given those findings, we use Blue Chip survey data to compare our model?s predictions of the stimulative effect of forward guidance to data before and after the Fed?s historic policy announcement on August 9, 2011. The results in that case study provide an explanation for the Forward Guidance Puzzle?the claim that New Keynesian models overestimate the effect of forward guidance.
AUTHORS: Gavin, William T.; Keen, Benjamin D.; Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2013

Journal Article
Fed’s Effective Lower Bound Constraint on Monetary Policy Created Uncertainty
Uncertainty about the economy increased when the Fed reduced the federal funds rate to its effective lower bound because the constraint restricted the Fed?s ability to stabilize the economy. As a result, a much stronger negative relationship between uncertainty and economic activity emerged during and shortly after the Great Recession.
AUTHORS: Plante, Michael D.; Richter, Alexander W.; Throckmorton, Nathaniel
DATE: 2017-11

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