Year of publication
- English (44) (remove)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. This version: December 2002
- Monetary theory and monetary policy : reflections on the development over the last 150 years [Version December 8, 2012] (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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Is there a threat of self-reinforcing deflation in the Euro area? A view through the lens of the Phillips curve (2014)
- The recent decline in euro area inflation has triggered new calls for additional monetary stimulus by the ECB in order to counter the threat of a self‐reinforcing deflation and recession spiral. This note reviews the available evidence on inflation expectations, output gaps and other factors driving current inflation through the lens of the Phillips curve. It also draws a comparison to the Japanese experience with deflation in the late 1990s and the evidence from Japan concerning the outputinflation nexus at low trend inflation. The note concludes from this evidence that the risk of a selfreinforcing deflation remains very small. Thus, the ECB best await the impact of the long‐term refinancing operations decided in June that have the potential to induce substantial monetary accommodation once implemented for the first time in September.
- The new keynesian approach to dynamic general equilibrium modeling: models, methods, and macroeconomic policy evaluation (2012)
- This chapter aims to provide a hands-on approach to New Keynesian models and their uses for macroeconomic policy analysis. It starts by reviewing the origins of the New Keynesian approach, the key model ingredients and representative models. Building blocks of current-generation dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models are discussed in detail. These models address the famous Lucas critique by deriving behavioral equations systematically from the optimizing and forward-looking decision-making of households and firms subject to well-defined constraints. State-of-the-art methods for solving and estimating such models are reviewed and presented in examples. The chapter goes beyond the mere presentation of the most popular benchmark model by providing a framework for model comparison along with a database that includes a wide variety of macroeconomic models. Thus, it offers a convenient approach for comparing new models to available benchmarks and for investigating whether particular policy recommendations are robust to model uncertainty. Such robustness analysis is illustrated by evaluating the performance of simple monetary policy rules across a range of recently-estimated models including some with financial market imperfections and by reviewing recent comparative findings regarding the magnitude of government spending multipliers. The chapter concludes with a discussion of important objectives for on-going and future research using the New Keynesian framework.
- 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.