Year of publication
- Center for Financial Studies (CFS) (28) (remove)
- 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.
- Monetary theory and monetary policy : reflections on the development over the last 150 years (2012)
- In this paper, we provide some reflections on the development of monetary theory and monetary policy over the last 150 years. Rather than presenting an encompassing overview, which would be overambitious, we simply concentrate on a few selected aspects that we view as milestones in the development of this subject. We also try to illustrate some of the interactions with the political and financial system, academic discussion and the views and actions of central banks.
- 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.
- Fiscal consolidation strategy (2012)
- In the aftermath of the global financial crisis and great recession, many countries face substantial deficits and growing debts. In the United States, federal government outlays as a ratio to GDP rose substantially from about 19.5 percent before the crisis to over 24 percent after the crisis. In this paper we consider a fiscal consolidation strategy that brings the budget to balance by gradually reducing this spending ratio over time to the level that prevailed prior to the crisis. A crucial issue is the impact of such a consolidation strategy on the economy. We use structural macroeconomic models to estimate this impact focussing primarily on a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with price and wage rigidities and adjustment costs. We separate out the impact of reductions in government purchases and transfers, and we allow for a reduction in both distortionary taxes and government debt relative to the baseline of no consolidation. According to the model simulations GDP rises in the short run upon announcement and implementation of this fiscal consolidation strategy and remains higher than the baseline in the long run. We explore the role of the mix of expenditure cuts and tax reductions as well as gradualism in achieving this policy outcome. Finally, we conduct sensitivity studies regarding the type of model used and its parameterization.
- 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
- 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. JEL-Classifications: C52, E62 Keywords: Fiscal Multiplier, New Keynesian Model, Fiscal Stimulus, Government Spending, Macroeconomic Modeling.
- Money in monetary policy design : monetary cross-checking in the New-Keynesian model (2009)
- In the New-Keynesian model, optimal interest rate policy under uncertainty is formulated without reference to monetary aggregates as long as certain standard assumptions on the distributions of unobservables are satisfied. The model has been criticized for failing to explain common trends in money growth and inflation, and that therefore money should be used as a cross-check in policy formulation (see Lucas (2007)). We show that the New-Keynesian model can explain such trends if one allows for the possibility of persistent central bank misperceptions. Such misperceptions motivate the search for policies that include additional robustness checks. In earlier work, we proposed an interest rate rule that is near-optimal in normal times but includes a cross-check with monetary information. In case of unusual monetary trends, interest rates are adjusted. In this paper, we show in detail how to derive the appropriate magnitude of the interest rate adjustment following a significant cross-check with monetary information, when the New-Keynesian model is the central bank’s preferred model. The cross-check is shown to be effective in offsetting persistent deviations of inflation due to central bank misperceptions. JEL-Classifications: E32, E41, E43, E52, E58 Keywords: Monetary Policy, New-Keynesian Model, Money, Quantity Theory, European Central Bank, Policy Under Uncertainty
- 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.
- Keynesian government spending multipliers and spillovers in the euro area (2009)
- The global financial crisis has lead to a renewed interest in discretionary fiscal stimulus. Advocates of discretionary measures emphasize that government spending can stimulate additional private spending — the so-called Keynesian multiplier effect. Thus, we investigate whether the discretionary spending announced by Euro area governments for 2009 and 2010 is likely to boost euro area GDP by more than one for one. Because of modeling uncertainty, it is essential that such policy evaluations be robust to alternative modeling assumptions and different parameterizations. Therefore, we use five different empirical macroeconomic models with Keynesian features such as price and wage rigidities to evaluate the impact of fiscal stimulus. Four of them suggest that the planned increase in government spending will reduce private spending for consumption and investment purposes significantly. If announced government expenditures are implemented with delay the initial effect on euro area GDP, when stimulus is most needed, may even be negative. Traditional Keynesian multiplier effects only arise in a model that ignores the forward-looking behavioral response of consumers and firms. Using a multi-country model, we find that spillovers between euro area countries are negligible or even negative, because direct demand effects are offset by the indirect effect of euro appreciation. JEL-Classifications: E62, E63, H31 Keywords: Fiscal Policy, Fiscal Stimulus, Government Spending Multipliers, Model Uncertainty, Crowding-out, New-Keynesian Models.
- 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.