Year of publication
- Center for Financial Studies (CFS) (35) (remove)
- Economic projections and rules-of-thumb for monetary policy (2008)
- Monetary policy analysts often rely on rules-of-thumb, such as the Taylor rule, to describe historical monetary policy decisions and to compare current policy to historical norms. Analysis along these lines also permits evaluation of episodes where policy may have deviated from a simple rule and examination of the reasons behind such deviations. One interesting question is whether such rules-of-thumb should draw on policymakers "forecasts of key variables such as inflation and unemployment or on observed outcomes. Importantly, deviations of the policy from the prescriptions of a Taylor rule that relies on outcomes may be due to systematic responses to information captured in policymakers" own projections. We investigate this proposition in the context of FOMC policy decisions over the past 20 years using publicly available FOMC projections from the biannual monetary policy reports to the Congress (Humphrey-Hawkins reports). Our results indicate that FOMC decisions can indeed be predominantly explained in terms of the FOMC´s own projections rather than observed outcomes. Thus, a forecast-based rule-of-thumb better characterizes FOMC decision-making. We also confirm that many of the apparent deviations of the federal funds rate from an outcome-based Taylor-style rule may be considered systematic responses to information contained in FOMC projections.
- Central bank misperceptions and the role of money in interest rate rules (2008)
- Research with Keynesian-style models has emphasized the importance of the output gap for policies aimed at controlling inflation while declaring monetary aggregates largely irrelevant. Critics, however, have argued that these models need to be modified to account for observed money growth and inflation trends, and that monetary trends may serve as a useful cross-check for monetary policy. We identify an important source of monetary trends in form of persistent central bank misperceptions regarding potential output. Simulations with historical output gap estimates indicate that such misperceptions may induce persistent errors in monetary policy and sustained trends in money growth and inflation. If interest rate prescriptions derived from Keynesian-style models are augmented with a cross-check against money-based estimates of trend inflation, inflation control is improved substantially.
- 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. Keywords: Monetary Policy, New-Keynesian Model, Money, Quantity Theory, European Central Bank, Policy Under Uncertainty
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Schlechte Erfahrungen (2012)
- Eine Transaktionssteuer auf Finanzgeschäfte würde weniger Geld einbringen, als viele ihrer Anhänger hoffen - und sie birgt gravierende ökonomische und juristische Risiken. Die Bundesregierung sollte sich der Belastungen durch eine Finanztransaktionssteuer bewusst sein – und sie nicht ohne Beteiligung der weltweit führenden Finanzplätze einführen. Eine internationale Einigung auf strengere Eigenkapitalvorschriften für Banken muss Vorrang haben.