Year of publication
- Working Paper (40) (remove)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Asset pricing under rational learning about rare disasters (2011)
- This paper proposes a new approach for modeling investor fear after rare disasters. The key element is to take into account that investors’ information about fundamentals driving rare downward jumps in the dividend process is not perfect. Bayesian learning implies that beliefs about the likelihood of rare disasters drop to a much more pessimistic level once a disaster has occurred. Such a shift in beliefs can trigger massive declines in price-dividend ratios. Pessimistic beliefs persist for some time. Thus, belief dynamics are a source of apparent excess volatility relative to a rational expectations benchmark. Due to the low frequency of disasters, even an infinitely-lived investor will remain uncertain about the exact probability. Our analysis is conducted in continuous time and offers closed-form solutions for asset prices. We distinguish between rational and adaptive Bayesian learning. Rational learners account for the possibility of future changes in beliefs in determining their demand for risky assets, while adaptive learners take beliefs as given. Thus, risky assets tend to be lower-valued and price-dividend ratios vary less under adaptive versus rational learning for identical priors. Keywords: beliefs, Bayesian learning, controlled diffusions and jump processes, learning about jumps, adaptive learning, rational learning. JEL classification: D83, G11, C11, D91, E21, D81, C61
- Fiscal consolidation strategy: An update for the budget reform proposal of march 2013 (2013)
- Recently, we evaluated a fiscal consolidation strategy for the United States that would bring the government budget into balance by gradually reducing government spending relative to GDP to the ratio that prevailed prior to the crisis (Cogan et al, JEDC 2013). Specifically, we published an analysis of the macroeconomic consequences of the 2013 Budget Resolution that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2012. In this note, we provide an update of our research that evaluates this year’s budget reform proposal that is to be discussed and voted on in the House of Representative in March 2013. Contrary to the views voiced by critics of fiscal consolidation, we show that such a reduction in government purchases and transfer payments can increase GDP immediately and permanently relative to a policy without spending restraint. Our research makes use of a modern structural model of the economy that incorporates the long-standing essential features of economics: opportunity costs, efficiency, foresight and incentives. GDP rises because households take into account that spending restraint helps avoid future increases in tax rates. Lower taxes imply less distorted incentives for work, investment and production relative to a scenario without fiscal consolidation and lead to higher growth.
- Money in monetary policy design under uncertainty : the two-pillar Phillips curve versus ECB-style cross-checking (2007)
- The European Central Bank has assigned a special role to money in its two pillar strategy and has received much criticism for this decision. In this paper, we explore possible justifications. The case against including money in the central bank’s interest rate rule is based on a standard model of the monetary transmission process that underlies many contributions to research on monetary policy in the last two decades. Of course, if one allows for a direct effect of money on output or inflation as in the empirical “two-pillar” Phillips curves estimated in some recent contributions, it would be optimal to include a measure of (long-run) money growth in the rule. In this paper, we develop a justification for including money in the interest rate rule by allowing for imperfect knowledge regarding unobservables such as potential output and equilibrium interest rates. We formulate a novel characterization of ECB-style monetary cross-checking and show that it can generate substantial stabilization benefits in the event of persistent policy misperceptions regarding potential output. Such misperceptions cause a bias in policy setting. We find that cross-checking and changing interest rates in response to sustained deviations of long-run money growth helps the central bank to overcome this bias. Our argument in favor of ECB-style cross-checking does not require direct effects of money on output or inflation. JEL Classification: E32, E41, E43, E52, E58
- Money in monetary policy design under uncertainty: a formal characterization of ECB-style cross-checking (2007)
- The European Central Bank has assigned a special role to money in its two pillar strategy and has received much criticism for this decision. The case against including money in the central bank’s interest rate rule is based on a standard model of the monetary transmission process that underlies many contributions to research on monetary policy in the last two decades. In this paper, we develop a justification for including money in the interest rate rule by allowing for imperfect knowledge regarding unobservables such as potential output and equilibrium interest rates. We formulate a novel characterization of ECB-style monetary cross-checking and show that it can generate substantial stabilization benefits in the event of persistent policy misperceptions regarding potential output. JEL Classification: E32, E41, E43, E52, E58
- 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.