Economics at the Federal Reserve banks
Remarks at the American Economic Association 2014 Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The inflation-output trade-off revisited
A rich literature from the 1970s shows that as inflation expectations become more and more ingrained, monetary policy loses its stimulative effect. In the extreme, with perfectly anticipated inflation, there is no trade-off between inflation and output. A recent literature on the interest-rate zero lower bound, however, suggests there may be some benefits from anticipated inflation when he economy is in a liquidity trap. In this paper, we reconcile these two views by showing that while it is true, at positive interest rates, that inflation loses its stimulative effects as it becomes better ...
Aggregation and the PPP puzzle in a sticky-price model
We study the purchasing power parity (PPP) puzzle in a multisector, two-country, sticky-price model. Firms' price stickiness differs across sectors, in accordance with recent microeconomic evidence on price setting in various countries. Combined with local currency pricing, these differences lead sectoral real exchange rates to exhibit heterogeneous dynamics. We show that in this economy, deviations of the real exchange rate from PPP are more volatile and persistent when compared with a counterfactual one-sector world economy that features the same average frequency of price changes and is ...
A Local-Spillover Decomposition of the Causal Effect of U.S. Defense Spending Shocks
This paper decomposes the causal effect of government defense spending into: (i) a local (or direct) effect, and (ii) a spillover (or indirect) effect. Using state-level defense spending data, we show that a negative cross-state spillover effect explains the existing simultaneous findings of a low aggregate multiplier and a high local multiplier. We show that enlisting disaggregate data improves the precision of aggregate effect estimates, relative to using aggregate time series alone. Moreover, we compare two-step efficient GMM with two alternative moment weighting approaches used in ...
Why Have Interest Rates Fallen Far Below the Return on Capital
Risk-free rates have been falling since the 1980s while the return on capital has not. We analyze these trends in a calibrated OLG model with recursive preferences, designed to encompass many of the "usual suspects'' cited in the debate on secular stagnation. Declining labor force and productivity growth imply a limited decline in real interest rates and deleveraging cannot account for the joint decline in the risk free rate and increase in the risk premium. If we allow for a change in the (perceived) risk to productivity growth to fit the data, we find that the decline in the risk-free ...
Forward Guidance and Macroeconomic Outcomes Since the Financial Crisis
This paper studies the effects of FOMC forward guidance. We begin by using high frequency identification and direct measures of FOMC private information to show that puzzling responses of private sector forecasts to movements in federal funds futures rates on FOMC announcement days can be attributed entirely to Delphic forward guidance. However a large fraction of futures rates' variability on announcement days remains unexplained, leaving open the possibility that the FOMC has successfully communicated Odyssean guidance. We then examine whether the FOMC used Odyssean guidance to improve ...
On the Structural Interpretation of the Smets-Wouters “Risk Premium” Shock
This article shows that the "risk premium" shock in Smets and Wouters (2007) can be interpreted as a structural shock to the demand for safe and liquid assets such as short-term US Treasury securities. Several implications of this interpretation are discussed.
Human Capital and Development
Perhaps no question has attracted as much attention in the economics literature as ?Why are some countries richer than others?? In this article, the author revisits the ?development problem? and provides some estimates of the importance of human capital in accounting for cross-country differences in output per worker. His results suggest that human capital has a central role in determining the wealth of nations and that the quality of human capital varies systematically with the level of development.
Some International Evidence for Keynesian Economics Without the Phillips Curve
Farmer and Nicol (2018) show that the Farmer Monetary (FM)-model outperforms the three-equation New-Keynesian (NK)-model in post war U.S. data. In this paper, we compare the marginal data density of the FM-model with marginal data densities for determinate and indeterminate versions of the NK-model for three separate samples using U.S., U.K. and Canadian data. We estimate versions of both models that restrict the parameters of the private sector equations to be the same for all three countries. Our preferred specification is the constrained version of the FM-model which has a marginal data ...
Employment Effects of Unconventional Monetary Policy : Evidence from QE
This paper investigates the effect of the Federal Reserve's unconventional monetary policy on employment via a bank lending channel. We find that banks with higher mortgage-backed securities holdings issued relatively more loans after the first and third rounds of quantitative easing (QE1 and QE3). While additional volume is concentrated in refinanced mortgages after QE1, increases are driven by newly originated home purchase mortgages and additional commercial and industrial lending after QE3. Using spatial variation, we show that regions with a high share of affected banks experienced ...