Year of publication
- The European Central Bank (2007)
- The establishment of the ECB and with it the launch of the euro has arguably been a unique endeavor in economic history, representing an important experiment in central banking. This note aims to summarize some of the main lessons learned from this experiment and sketch some of the prospects for the ECB. It is written for "The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics", 2nd edition. JEL Classification: E52, E58
- Mean variance optimization of non-linear systems and worst-case analysis (2006)
- In this paper, we consider expected value, variance and worst-case optimization of nonlinear models. We present algorithms for computing optimal expected values, and variance, based on iterative Taylor expansions. We establish convergence and consider the relative merits of policies beaded on expected value optimization and worst-case robustness. The latter is a minimax strategy and ensures optimal cover in view of the worst-case scenario(s) while the former is optimal expected performance in a stochastic setting. Both approaches are used with a macroeconomic policy model to illustrate relative performances, robustness and trade-offs between the strategies. Klassifikation: C61, E43
- A quantitative exploration of the opportunistic approach to disinflation (2005)
- Under a conventional policy rule, a central bank adjusts its policy rate linearly according to the gap between inflation and its target, and the gap between output and its potential. Under "the opportunistic approach to disinflation" a central bank controls inflation aggressively when inflation is far from its target, but concentrates more on output stabilization when inflation is close to its target, allowing supply shocks and unforeseen fluctuations in aggregate demand to move inflation within a certain band. We use stochastic simulations of a small-scale rational expectations model to contrast the behavior of output and inflation under opportunistic and linear rules. Klassifikation: E31, E52, E58, E61. July, 2005.
- Insurance policies for monetary policy in the Euro area (2005)
- In this paper, we examine the cost of insurance against model uncertainty for the Euro area considering four alternative reference models, all of which are used for policy-analysis at the ECB.We find that maximal insurance across this model range in terms of aMinimax policy comes at moderate costs in terms of lower expected performance. We extract priors that would rationalize the Minimax policy from a Bayesian perspective. These priors indicate that full insurance is strongly oriented towards the model with highest baseline losses. Furthermore, this policy is not as tolerant towards small perturbations of policy parameters as the Bayesian policy rule. We propose to strike a compromise and use preferences for policy design that allow for intermediate degrees of ambiguity-aversion.These preferences allow the specification of priors but also give extra weight to the worst uncertain outcomes in a given context. Klassifikation: E52, E58, E61. April 2005.
- Stochastic optimization and worst-case analysis in monetary policy design (2005)
- In this paper, we examine the cost of insurance against model uncertainty for the Euro area considering four alternative reference models, all of which are used for policy-analysis at the ECB.We find that maximal insurance across this model range in terms of aMinimax policy comes at moderate costs in terms of lower expected performance. We extract priors that would rationalize the Minimax policy from a Bayesian perspective. These priors indicate that full insurance is strongly oriented towards the model with highest baseline losses. Furthermore, this policy is not as tolerant towards small perturbations of policy parameters as the Bayesian policy rule. We propose to strike a compromise and use preferences for policy design that allow for intermediate degrees of ambiguity-aversion.These preferences allow the specification of priors but also give extra weight to the worst uncertain outcomes in a given context. Klassifikation: E52, E58, E61 . April 2005.
- Exchange-rate policy and the zero bound on nominal interest (2004)
- In this paper, we study the effectiveness of monetary policy in a severe recession and deflation when nominal interest rates are bounded at zero. We compare two alternative proposals for ameliorating the effect of the zero bound: an exchange-rate peg and price-level targeting. We conduct this quantitative comparison in an empirical macroeconometric model of Japan, the United States and the euro area. Furthermore, we use a stylized micro-founded two-country model to check our qualitative findings. We find that both proposals succeed in generating inflationary expectations and work almost equally well under full credibility of monetary policy. However, price-level targeting may be less effective under imperfect credibility, because the announced price-level target path is not directly observable. Klassifikation: E31, E52, E58, E61
- 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.