Online Estimation of DSGE Models
The estimation of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models is a computationally demanding task. As these models change to address new challenges (such as household and firm heterogeneity, the lower bound on nominal interest rates, and occasionally binding financial constraints), they become even more complex and difficult to estimate?so much so that current estimation procedures are no longer up to the task. This post discusses a new technique for estimating these models which belongs to the class of sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithms, an approach we employ to estimate the ...
DSGE forecasts of the lost recovery
The years following the Great Recession were challenging for forecasters. Unlike other deep downturns, this recession was not followed by a swift recovery, but generated a sizable and persistent output gap that was not accompanied by deflation as a traditional Phillips curve relationship would have predicted. Moreover, the zero lower bound and unconventional monetary policy generated an unprecedented policy environment. We document the real real-time forecasting performance of the New York Fed dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model during this period and explain the results using ...
Fitting observed inflation expectations
This paper provides evidence on the extent to which inflation expectations generated by a standard Christiano et al. (2005)/Smets and Wouters (2003)?type DSGE model are in line with what is observed in the data. We consider three variants of this model that differ in terms of the behavior of, and the public?s information on, the central banks? inflation target, allegedly a key determinant of inflation expectations. We find that: 1) time-variation in the inflation target is needed to capture the evolution of expectations during the post-Volcker period; 2) the variant where agents have ...
The forward guidance puzzle
With short-term interest rates at the zero lower bound, forward guidance has become a key tool for central bankers, and yet we know little about its effectiveness. This paper first empirically documents the impact of forward guidance announcements on a broad cross section of financial markets data and professional forecasts. We find that Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcements containing forward guidance had heterogeneous effects depending on the other content of the statement. We show that once we control for these other elements, forward guidance had, on average, positive and ...
Analyzing data revisions with a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model
We use a structural dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model to investigate how initial data releases of key macroeconomic aggregates are related to final revised versions and how identified aggregate shocks influence data revisions. The analysis sheds light on how well preliminary data approximate final data and on how policy makers might condition their view of the preliminary data when formulating policy actions. The results suggest that monetary policy shocks and multifactor productivity shocks lead to predictable revisions to the initial release data on output growth and inflation.
Why has the cyclicality of productivity changed?: what does it mean?
Historically, U.S. labor productivity (output per hour) and total factor productivity (TFP) rose in booms and fell in recessions. Different models of business cycles explain this procyclicality differently. Traditional Keynesian models relied on "factor hoarding," that is, variations in how intensively labor and capital were utilized over the business cycle. Real business cycle (RBC) models instead posit that procyclical technology shocks drive the business cycle. Since the mid-1980s, however, the procyclicality of productivity has waned. TFP has been roughly acyclical with respect to ...
Selecting Primal Innovations in DSGE models
DSGE models are typically estimated assuming the existence of certain primal shocks that drive macroeconomic fluctuations. We analyze the consequences of estimating shocks that are "non-existent" and propose a method to select the primal shocks driving macroeconomic uncertainty. Forcing these non-existing shocks in estimation produces a downward bias in the estimated internal persistence of the model. We show how these distortions can be reduced by using priors for standard deviations whose support includes zero. The method allows us to accurately select primal shocks and estimate model ...
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 ...
Financial Business Cycles
Using Bayesian methods, I estimate a DSGE model where a recession is initiated by losses suffered by banks and exacerbated by their inability to extend credit to the real sector. The event triggering the recession has the workings of a redistribution shock: a small sector of the economy -- borrowers who use their home as collateral -- defaults on their loans. When banks hold little equity in excess of regulatory requirements, the losses require them to react immediately, either by recapitalizing or by deleveraging. By deleveraging, banks transform the initial shock into a credit crunch, and, ...
The Effects of Foreign Shocks when Interest Rates are at Zero
In a two-country DSGE model, the effects of foreign demand shocks on the home country are greatly amplified if the home economy is constrained by the zero lower bound on policy interest rates. This result applies even to countries that are relatively closed to trade such as the United States. Departing from many of the existing closed-economy models, the duration of the liquidity trap is determined endogenously. Adverse foreign shocks can extend the duration of the trap, implying more contractionary effects for the home country. The home economy is more vulnerable to adverse foreign shocks if ...