Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency
We develop and estimate a general equilibrium model to quantitatively assess the effects and welfare implications of central bank transparency. Monetary policy can deviate from active inflation stabilization and agents conduct Bayesian learning about the nature of these deviations. Under constrained discretion, only short deviations occur, agents? uncertainty about the macroeconomy remains contained, and welfare is high. However, if a deviation persists, uncertainty accelerates and welfare declines. Announcing the future policy course raises uncertainty in the short run by revealing that ...
Monetary policy strategies for a low-neutral-interest-rate world: remarks at the 80th Plenary Meeting of the Group of Thirty, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York City
Remarks at the 80th Plenary Meeting of the Group of Thirty, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York City.
Inflation Expectations and Recovery from the Depression in 1933: Evidence from the Narrative Record
This paper uses the historical narrative record to determine whether inflation expectations shifted during the second quarter of 1933, precisely as the recovery from the Great Depression took hold. First, by examining the historical news record and the forecasts of contemporary business analysts, we show that inflation expectations increased dramatically. Second, using an event-studies approach, we identify the impact on financial markets of the key events that shifted inflation expectations. Third, we gather new evidence--both quantitative and narrative--that indicates that the shift in ...
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 ...
A New Model of Inflation, Trend Inflation, and Long-Run Inflation Expectations
A knowledge of the level of trend inflation is key to many current policy decisions, and several methods of estimating trend inflation exist. This paper adds to the growing literature which uses survey-based long-run forecasts of inflation to estimate trend inflation. We develop a bivariate model of inflation and long-run forecasts of inflation which allows for the estimation of the link between trend inflation and the long-run forecast. Thus, our model allows for the possibilities that long-run forecasts taken from surveys can be equated with trend inflation, that the two are completely ...
Thinking Outside the Box: Do SPF Respondents Have Anchored Inflation Expectations?
Despite the stability of the median 10-year inflation expectations in the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) near 2 percent, we show that not a single SPF respondent?s expectations have been anchored at the target since the Federal Open Market Committee?s (FOMC) enactment of an inflation target in January 2012, or even since 2015. However, we find significant evidence for ?delayed anchoring,? or a move toward being anchored, particularly after the federal funds rate lifted off in December 2015.
Inflation Thresholds and Inattention
Inflation expectations are key to economic activity, and in the current economic climate of a heated labor market, they are central to the policy debate. At the same time, a growing literature on inattention suggests that individuals, and therefore individual behavior, may not be sensitive to changes in inflation when it is low. This paper explores evidence of such inattention by constructing three different measures based on the University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumers 1-year ahead inflation expectations. Exploring inflation thresholds of 2, 3, and 4 percent, our findings are ...
Heterogeneous inflation expectations and learning
Using the panel component of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, we estimate a learning model of inflation expectations, allowing for heterogeneous use of both private information and lifetime inflation experience. ?Life-experience inflation? has a significant impact on individual expectations, but only for one-year-ahead inflation. Public information is substantially more relevant for longer-horizon expectations. Even controlling for life-experience inflation and public information, idiosyncratic information explains a nontrivial proportion of the inflation forecasts of agents. We find that ...
Inflation expectations and nonlinearities in the Phillips curve
This paper shows that a simple form of nonlinearity in the Phillips curve can explain why, following the Great Recession, inflation did not decrease as much as predicted by linear Phillips curves, a phenomenon known as the missing disinflation. We estimate a piecewise-linear specification and document that the data favor a model with two regions, with the response of inflation to an increase in unemployment slower in the region where unemployment is already high. Nonlinearities remain important, even when we account for other factors proposed in the literature, such as consumer expectations ...
How Economic Crises Affect Inflation Beliefs: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic
This paper studies how inflation beliefs reported in the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations have evolved since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that household inflation expectations responded slowly and mostly at the short-term horizon. In contrast, the data reveal immediate and unprecedented increases in individual inflation uncertainty and in inflation disagreement across respondents. We find evidence of a strong polarization in inflation beliefs and we show differences across demographic groups. Finally, we document a strong link, consistent with precautionary ...