Year of publication
- The zero-interest-rate and the role of the exchange rate for monetary policy in Japan (2003)
- In this paper we study the role of the exchange rate in conducting monetary policy in an economy with near-zero nominal interest rates as experienced in Japan since the mid-1990s. Our analysis is based on an estimated model of Japan, the United States and the euro area with rational expectations and nominal rigidities. First, we provide a quantitative analysis of the impact of the zero bound on the effectiveness of interest rate policy in Japan in terms of stabilizing output and inflation. Then we evaluate three concrete proposals that focus on depreciation of the currency as a way to ameliorate the effect of the zero bound and evade a potential liquidity trap. Finally, we investigate the international consequences of these proposals.
- Monetary policy and uncertainty about the natural unemployment rate (2003)
- 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
- The performance of forecast-based monetary policy rules under model uncertainty (2003)
- We investigate the performance of forecast-based monetary policy rules using five macroeconomic models that reflect a wide range of views on aggregate dynamics. We identify the key characteristics of rules that are robust to model uncertainty: such rules respond to the one-year-ahead inflation forecast and to the current output gap and incorporate a substantial degree of policy inertia. In contrast, rules with longer forecast horizons are less robust and are prone to generating indeterminacy. Finally, we identify a robust benchmark rule that performs very well in all five models over a wide range of policy preferences.
- Data uncertainty and the role of money as an information variable for monetary policy (2003)
- In this study, we perform a quantitative assessment of the role of money as an indicator variable for monetary policy in the euro area. We document the magnitude of revisions to euro area-wide data on output, prices, and money, and find that monetary aggregates have a potentially significant role in providing information about current real output. We then proceed to analyze the information content of money in a forward-looking model in which monetary policy is optimally determined subject to incomplete information about the true state of the economy. We show that monetary aggregates may have substantial information content in an environment with high variability of output measurement errors, low variability of money demand shocks, and a strong contemporaneous linkage between money demand and real output. As a practical matter, however, we conclude that money has fairly limited information content as an indicator of contemporaneous aggregate demand in the euro area.
- Price stability and monetary policy effectiveness when nominal interest rates are bounded at zero (2003)
- This paper employs stochastic simulations of a small structural rational expectations model to investigate the consequences of the zero bound on nominal interest rates. We find that if the economy is subject to stochastic shocks similar in magnitude to those experienced in the U.S. over the 1980s and 1990s, the consequences of the zero bound are negligible for target inflation rates as low as 2 percent. However, the effects of the constraint are non-linear with respect to the inflation target and produce a quantitatively significant deterioration of the performance of the economy with targets between 0 and 1 percent. The variability of output increases significantly and that of inflation also rises somewhat. Also, we show that the asymmetry of the policy ineffectiveness induced by the zero bound generates a non-vertical long-run Phillips curve. Output falls increasingly short of potential with lower inflation targets.
- A small estimated Euro area model with rational expectations and nominal rigidities (2003)
- In this paper we estimate a small model of the euro area to be used as a laboratory for evaluating the performance of alternative monetary policy strategies. We start with the relationship between output and inflation and investigate the fit of the nominal wage contracting model due to Taylor (1980)and three different versions of the relative real wage contracting model proposed by Buiter and Jewitt (1981)and estimated by Fuhrer and Moore (1995a) for the United States. While Fuhrer and Moore reject the nominal contracting model in favor of the relative contracting model which induces more inflation persistence, we find that both models fit euro area data reasonably well. When considering France, Germany and Italy separately, however, we find that the nominal contracting model fits German data better, while the relative contracting model does quite well in countries which transitioned out of a high inflation regime such as France and Italy. We close the model by estimating an aggregate demand relationship and investigate the consequences of the different wage contracting specifications for the inflation-output variability tradeoff, when interest rates are set according to Taylor 's rule.
- Economic projections and rules-of-thumb for monetary policy (2008)
- Monetary policy analysts often rely on rules-of-thumb, such as the Taylor rule, to describe historical monetary policy decisions and to compare current policy to historical norms. Analysis along these lines also permits evaluation of episodes where policy may have deviated from a simple rule and examination of the reasons behind such deviations. One interesting question is whether such rules-of-thumb should draw on policymakers "forecasts of key variables such as inflation and unemployment or on observed outcomes. Importantly, deviations of the policy from the prescriptions of a Taylor rule that relies on outcomes may be due to systematic responses to information captured in policymakers" own projections. We investigate this proposition in the context of FOMC policy decisions over the past 20 years using publicly available FOMC projections from the biannual monetary policy reports to the Congress (Humphrey-Hawkins reports). Our results indicate that FOMC decisions can indeed be predominantly explained in terms of the FOMC´s own projections rather than observed outcomes. Thus, a forecast-based rule-of-thumb better characterizes FOMC decision-making. We also confirm that many of the apparent deviations of the federal funds rate from an outcome-based Taylor-style rule may be considered systematic responses to information contained in FOMC projections.
- Learning, endogenous indexation and disinflation in the New-Keynesian Model (2008)
- This paper introduces adaptive learning and endogenous indexation in the New-Keynesian Phillips curve and studies disinflation under inflation targeting policies. The analysis is motivated by the disinflation performance of many inflation-targeting countries, in particular the gradual Chilean disinflation with temporary annual targets. At the start of the disinflation episode price-setting firms’ expect inflation to be highly persistent and opt for backward-looking indexation. As the central bank acts to bring inflation under control, price-setting firms revise their estimates of the degree of persistence. Such adaptive learning lowers the cost of disinflation. This reduction can be exploited by a gradual approach to disinflation. Firms that choose the rate for indexation also re-assess the likelihood that announced inflation targets determine steady-state inflation and adjust indexation of contracts accordingly. A strategy of announcing and pursuing short-term targets for inflation is found to influence the likelihood that firms switch from backward-looking indexation to the central bank’s targets. As firms abandon backward-looking indexation the costs of disinflation decline further. We show that an inflation targeting strategy that employs temporary targets can benefit from lower disinflation costs due to the reduction in backward-looking indexation.
- Central bank misperceptions and the role of money in interest rate rules (2008)
- Research with Keynesian-style models has emphasized the importance of the output gap for policies aimed at controlling inflation while declaring monetary aggregates largely irrelevant. Critics, however, have argued that these models need to be modified to account for observed money growth and inflation trends, and that monetary trends may serve as a useful cross-check for monetary policy. We identify an important source of monetary trends in form of persistent central bank misperceptions regarding potential output. Simulations with historical output gap estimates indicate that such misperceptions may induce persistent errors in monetary policy and sustained trends in money growth and inflation. If interest rate prescriptions derived from Keynesian-style models are augmented with a cross-check against money-based estimates of trend inflation, inflation control is improved substantially.
- New Keynesian versus old Keynesian government spending multipliers (2009)
- Renewed interest in fiscal policy has increased the use of quantitative models to evaluate policy. Because of modeling uncertainty, it is essential that policy evaluations be robust to alternative assumptions. We find that models currently being used in practice to evaluate fiscal policy stimulus proposals are not robust. Government spending multipliers in an alternative empirically-estimated and widely-cited new Keynesian model are much smaller than in these old Keynesian models; the estimated stimulus is extremely small with GDP and employment effects only one-sixth as large. Keywords: Fiscal Multiplier, New Keynesian Model, Fiscal Stimulus, Government Spending, Macroeconomic Modeling.