- Center for Financial Studies (CFS) (4)
Monetary policy and TIPS yields before the crisis
- We make three points. First, the decade before the financial crisis in 2007 was characterized by a collapse in the yield on TIPS. Second, estimated VARs for the federal funds rate and the TIPS yield show that while monetary policy shocks had negligible effects on the TIPS yield, shocks to the latter had one-to-one effects on the federal funds rate. Third, these findings can be rationalized in a New Keynesian model.
Monetary policy and uncertainty about the natural unemployment rate
- Inflation-targeting central banks have only imperfect knowledge about the effect of policy decisions on inflation. An important source of uncertainty is the relationship between inflation and unemployment. This paper studies the optimal monetary policy in the presence of uncertainty about the natural unemployment rate, the short-run inflation-unemployment tradeoff and the degree of inflation persistence in a simple macroeconomic model, which incorporates rational learning by the central bank as well as private sector agents. Two conflicting motives drive the optimal policy. In the static version of the model, uncertainty provides a motive for the policymaker to move more cautiously than she would if she knew the true parameters. In the dynamic version, uncertainty also motivates an element of experimentation in policy. I find that the optimal policy that balances the cautionary and activist motives typically exhibits gradualism, that is, it still remains less aggressive than a policy that disregards parameter uncertainty. Exceptions occur when uncertainty is very high and in inflation close to target. This version: December 2002
Optimal monetary policy inertia
- This paper considers the desirability of the observed tendency of central banks to adjust interest rates only gradually in response to changes in economic conditions. It shows, in the context of a simple model of optimizing private-sector behavior, that such inertial behavior on the part of the central bank may indeed be optimal, in the sense of minimizing a loss function that penalizes inflation variations, deviations of output from potential, and interest-rate variability. Sluggish adjustment characterizes an optimal policy commitment, even though no such inertia would be present in the case of a reputationless (Markovian) equilibrium under discretion. Optimal interest-rate feedback rules are also characterized, and shown to involve substantial positive coefficients on lagged interest rates. This provides a theoretical explanation for the numerical results obtained by Rotemberg and Woodford (1998) in their quantitative model of the U.S. economy.
Why EMU is irrelevant for the German economy
- No one seems to be neutral about the effects of EMU on the German economy. Roughly speaking, there are two camps: those who see the euro as the advent of a newly open, large, and efficient regime which will lead to improvements in European and in particular in German competitiveness; those who see the euro as a weakening of the German commitment to price stability. From a broader macroeconomic perspective, however, it is clear that EMU is unlikely to cause directly any meaningful change either for the better in Standort Deutschland or for the worse in the German price stability. There is ample evidence that changes in monetary regimes (so long as non leaving hyperinflation) induce little changes in real economic structures such as labor or financial markets. Regional asymmetries of the sorts in the EU do not tend to translate into monetary differences. Most importantly, there is no good reason to believe that the ECB will behave any differently than the Bundesbank.