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Jel Classification:E61 

Working Paper
Reputation and Liquidity Traps

Can the central bank credibly commit to keeping the nominal interest rate low for an extended period of time in the aftermath of a deep recession? By analyzing credible plans in a sticky-price economy with occasionally binding zero lower bound constraints, I find that the answer is yes if contractionary shocks hit the economy with sufficient frequency. In the best credible plan, if the central bank reneges on the promise of low policy rates, it will lose reputation and the private sector will not believe such promises in future recessions. When the shock hits the economy sufficiently ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-50

Working Paper
Monetary Policy Tradeoffs and the Federal Reserve's Dual Mandate

Some key structural features of the U.S. economy appear to have changed in the recent decades, making the conduct of monetary policy more challenging. In particular, there is high uncertainty about the levels of the natural rate of interest and unemployment as well as about the effect of economic activity on inflation. At the same time, a prolonged period of below-target inflation has raised concerns about the unanchoring of inflation expectations at levels below the Federal Open Market Committee’s inflation target. In addition, a low natural rate of interest increases the probability of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-066

Working Paper
A Quantitative Theory of Time-Consistent Unemployment Insurance

During recessions, the U.S. government substantially increases the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through multiple extensions. This paper seeks to understand the incentives driving these increases. Because of the trade-off between insurance and job search incentives, the classic time-inconsistency problem arises. During recessions, the U.S. government substantially increases the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through multiple extensions. This paper seeks to understand the incentives driving these extensions. Because of the trade-off between insurance and ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2016-11

Optimal Capital Taxation Revisited

We revisit the question of how capital should be taxed. We allow for a rich set of tax instruments that consists of taxes widely used in practice, including consumption, dividend, capital, and labor income taxes. We restrict policies to respect promises that the government has made in the previous period regarding the current value of wealth. We show that capital should not be taxed if households have preferences that are standard in the macroeconomics literature. We show that Ramsey outcomes that must respect such promises are time consistent. We show that the presumption in the literature ...
Staff Report , Paper 571

Working Paper
Targeting Long Rates in a Model with Segmented Markets

This paper develops a model of segmented financial markets in which the net worth of financial institutions limits the degree of arbitrage across the term structure. The model is embedded into the canonical Dynamic New Keynesian (DNK) framework. We estimate the model using data on the term premium. Our principal results include the following. First, the estimated segmentation coefficient implies a nontrivial effect of central bank asset purchases on yields and real activity. Second, there are welfare gains to having the central bank respond to the term premium, eg., including the term premium ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1419

Working Paper
Fiscal Dominance

Who prevails when fiscal and monetary authorities disagree about the value of public expenditure and how much to discount the future? When the fiscal authority sets debt as its main policy instrument it achieves fiscal dominance, rendering the preferences of the central bank, and thus its independence, irrelevant. When the central bank sets the nominal interest rate it renders fiscal impatience (its debt bias) irrelevant, but still faces its expenditure bias. I find that the expenditure bias has a major impact on welfare through higher public spending, while the effect on other policies is ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-040

Working Paper
Insurance and Inequality with Persistent Private Information

This paper studies the optimal tradeoff between insurance and inequality in economies with persistent private information.We consider a principal-agent model in which the principal insures the agent against privately-observed shocks to his endowment, which follows an ergodic finite-state Markov chain that may exhibit arbitrary serial correlation. The optimal contract always induces immiseration: the agent’s consumption and utility become arbitrarily negative in the long run. When the endowment is positively serially correlated, the optimal contract provides increasingly high-powered ...
Working Papers , Paper 2018-020

Working Paper
Communicating Monetary Policy Rules

Despite the ubiquity of inflation targeting, central banks communicate their frameworks in a variety of ways. No central bank explicitly expresses their conduct via a policy rule, which contrasts with models of policy. Central banks often connect theory with their practice by publishing inflation forecasts that can, in principle, implicitly convey their reaction function. We return to this central idea to show how a central bank can achieve the gains of a rule-based policy without publicly stating a specific rule. The approach requires central banks to specify an inflation target, inflation ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-12

Working Paper
Monetary Policy Strategies for a Low-Rate Environment

In low-rate environments, policy strategies that involve holding rates ?lower for longer? (L4L) may mitigate the effects of the effective lower bound (ELB). However, these strategies work in part by managing the public?s expectations, which is not always realistic. Using the Fed?s large-scale macroeconometric model, we study the effectiveness of L4L policies when financial market participants are forward-looking but other agents are not. We find that the resulting limited ability to manage expectations reduces but does not eliminate the advantages of L4L policies. The best policies provide ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-009

Working Paper
Macroeconomic Policy Games

Strategic interactions between policymakers arise whenever each policymaker has distinct objectives. Deviating from full cooperation can result in large welfare losses. To facilitate the study of strategic interactions, we develop a toolbox that characterizes the welfare-maximizing cooperative Ramsey policies under full commitment and open-loop Nash games. Two examples for the use of our toolbox offer some novel results. The first example revisits the case of monetary policy coordination in a two-country model to confirm that our approach replicates well-known results in the literature and ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-87


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