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Conservatism and Liquidity Traps
Appointing Rogoff's (1985) conservative central banker improves welfare if the economy is subject to large contractionary shocks and the policy rate occasionally falls to the zero lower bound (ZLB). In an economy with occasionally binding ZLB constraints, the anticipation of future ZLB episodes creates a trade-off between inflation and output stabilization. As a consequence, inflation systematically falls below target even when the policy rate is above zero. A conservative central banker mitigates this deflationary bias away from the ZLB, improving allocations both at and away from the ZLB ...
Impulse-Based Computation of Policy Counterfactuals
We propose an efficient procedure to solve for policy counterfactuals in linear models with occasionally binding constraints. The procedure does not require knowledge of the structural or reduced-form equations of the model, its state variables, or its shock processes. Forecasts of the variables entering the policy problem, and impulse response functions of these variables to anticipated policy shocks under an arbitrary policy, constitute sufficient information to construct valid counterfactuals. We show how to compute solutions for instrument rules and optimal discretionary and commitment ...
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 ...
Expectations-Driven Liquidity Traps: Implications for Monetary and Fiscal Policy
We study optimal monetary and fiscal policy in a New Keynesian model where occasional declines in agents' confidence give rise to persistent liquidity trap episodes. There is no straightforward recipe for enhancing welfare in this economy. Raising the inflation target or appointing an inflation-conservative central banker mitigates the inflation shortfall away from the lower bound but exacerbates deflationary pressures at the lower bound. Using government spending as an additional policy instrument worsens allocations at and away from the lower bound. However, appointing a policymaker who is ...