Year of publication
- Center for Financial Studies (CFS) (28) (remove)
- The diversity of forecasts from macroeconomic models of the U.S. economy (2010)
- This paper investigates the accuracy and heterogeneity of output growth and inflation forecasts during the current and the four preceding NBER-dated U.S. recessions. We generate forecasts from six different models of the U.S. economy and compare them to professional forecasts from the Federal Reserve’s Greenbook and the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF). The model parameters and model forecasts are derived from historical data vintages so as to ensure comparability to historical forecasts by professionals. The mean model forecast comes surprisingly close to the mean SPF and Greenbook forecasts in terms of accuracy even though the models only make use of a small number of data series. Model forecasts compare particularly well to professional forecasts at a horizon of three to four quarters and during recoveries. The extent of forecast heterogeneity is similar for model and professional forecasts but varies substantially over time. Thus, forecast heterogeneity constitutes a potentially important source of economic fluctuations. While the particular reasons for diversity in professional forecasts are not observable, the diversity in model forecasts can be traced to different modeling assumptions, information sets and parameter estimates. JEL Classification: C53, D84, E31, E32, E37 Keywords: Forecasting, Business Cycles, Heterogeneous Beliefs, Forecast Distribution, Model Uncertainty, Bayesian Estimation
- A new comparative approach to macroeconomic modeling and policy analysis (2012)
- In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the state of macroeconomic modeling and the use of macroeconomic models in policy analysis has come under heavy criticism. Macroeconomists in academia and policy institutions have been blamed for relying too much on a particular class of macroeconomic models. This paper proposes a comparative approach to macroeconomic policy analysis that is open to competing modeling paradigms. Macroeconomic model comparison projects have helped produce some very influential insights such as the Taylor rule. However, they have been infrequent and costly, because they require the input of many teams of researchers and multiple meetings to obtain a limited set of comparative findings. This paper provides a new approach that enables individual researchers to conduct model comparisons easily, frequently, at low cost and on a large scale. Using this approach a model archive is built that includes many well-known empirically estimated models that may be used for quantitative analysis of monetary and fiscal stabilization policies. A computational platform is created that allows straightforward comparisons of models’ implications. Its application is illustrated by comparing different monetary and fiscal policies across selected models. Researchers can easily include new models in the data base and compare the effects of novel extensions to established benchmarks thereby fostering a comparative instead of insular approach to model development.
- 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. Klassifikation: E52, E24, D8, C61 This version: December 2002
- 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. JEL Classification: E32, E41, E43, E52, E58
- Fiscal stimulus and the promise of future spending cuts : a comment (2009)
- Recent evaluations of the fiscal stimulus packages recently enacted in the United States and Europe such as Cogan, Cwik, Taylor and Wieland (2009) and Cwik and Wieland (2009) suggest that the GDP effects will be modest due to crowding-out of private consumption and investment. Corsetti, Meier and Mueller (2009a,b) argue that spending shocks are typically followed by consolidations with substantive spending cuts, which enhance the short-run stimulus effect. This note investigates the implications of this argument for the estimated impact of recent stimulus packages and the case for discretionary fiscal policy. JEL-Classifications: C32, G14, G17 Keywords: Fiscal Multiplier, Fiscal Stimulus, Discretionary Fiscal Policy, New Keynesian Model, Crowding-out, Government Spending, Macroeconomic Modelling.
- Quantitative easing : a rationale and some evidence from Japan (2009)
- This paper reviews the rationale for quantitative easing when central bank policy rates reach near zero levels in light of recent announcements regarding direct asset purchases by the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Empirical evidence from the previous period of quantitative easing in Japan between 2001 and 2006 is presented. During this earlier period the Bank of Japan was able to expand the monetary base very quickly and significantly. Quantitative easing translated into a greater and more lasting expansion of M1 relative to nominal GDP. Deflation subsided by 2005. As soon as inflation appeared to stabilize near a rate of zero, the Bank of Japan rapidly reduced the monetary base as a share of nominal income as it had announced in 2001. The Bank was able to exit from extensive quantitative easing within less than a year. Some implications for the current situation in Europe and the United States are discussed. JEL-Classifications: E31, E52, E58, E61 Keywords: Deflation, Quantitative Easing, Japan, Monetary Policy, Zero Bound.
- Surprising comparative properties of monetary models : results from a new data base (2009)
- In this paper we investigate the comparative properties of empirically-estimated monetary models of the U.S. economy. We make use of a new data base of models designed for such investigations. We focus on three representative models: the Christiano, Eichenbaum, Evans (2005) model, the Smets and Wouters (2007) model, and the Taylor (1993a) model. Although the three models differ in terms of structure, estimation method, sample period, and data vintage, we find surprisingly similar economic impacts of unanticipated changes in the federal funds rate. However, the optimal monetary policy responses to other sources of economic fluctuations are widely different in the different models. We show that simple optimal policy rules that respond to the growth rate of output and smooth the interest rate are not robust. In contrast, policy rules with no interest rate smoothing and no response to the growth rate, as distinct from the level, of output are more robust. Robustness can be improved further by optimizing rules with respect to the average loss across the three models. JEL-Classifications: C52, E30, E52 Keywords: Monetary Models, Macroeconomic Modelling, Monetary Policy Rules, Robustness, Model Comparison, DSGE Models.
- 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.
- 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
- Complexity and monetary policy (2012)
- The complexity resulting from intertwined uncertainties regarding model misspecification and mismeasurement of the state of the economy defines the monetary policy landscape. Using the euro area as laboratory this paper explores the design of robust policy guides aiming to maintain stability in the economy while recognizing this complexity. We document substantial output gap mismeasurement and make use of a new model data base to capture the evolution of model specification. A simple interest rate rule is employed to interpret ECB policy since 1999. An evaluation of alternative policy rules across 11 models of the euro area confirms the fragility of policy analysis optimized for any specific model and shows the merits of model averaging in policy design. Interestingly, a simple difference rule with the same coefficients on inflation and output growth as the one used to interpret ECB policy is quite robust as long as it responds to current outcomes of these variables.