Year of publication
- Center for Financial Studies (CFS) (29) (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
- The European Central Bank’s Outright Monetary Transactions and the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (2013)
- This note reviews the legal issues and concerns that are likely to play an important role in the ongoing deliberations of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany concerning the legality of ECB government bond purchases such as those conducted in the context of its earlier Securities Market Programme or potential future Outright Monetary Transactions.
- 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
- 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
- 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. Klassifikation: E31, E52, E58, E61
- 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. Klassifikation: E31, E52, E58, E61
- 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. Klassifikation: E31, E52, E58, E61
- 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.