Year of publication
- Center for Financial Studies (CFS) (35) (remove)
- 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 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 (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.
- 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. JEL Klassifikation: E52, E58, E61
- 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. JEL Klassifikation: E52, E58, E61.
- 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
- Complexity and monetary policy : [Version August 10, 2012] (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.
- 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.