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Does the Fed Respond to Oil Price Shocks?

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  • Lutz Kilian
  • Logan T. Lewis

Abstract

Since Bernanke, Gertler and Watson (1997), a common view in the literature has been that systematic monetary policy responses to the inflation triggered by oil price shocks are an important source of aggregate fluctuations in the U.S. economy. We show that there is no evidence of systematic monetary policy responses to oil price shocks after 1987 and that this lack of a policy response is unlikely to be explained by reduced real wage rigidities. Prior to 1987, according to standard VAR models, the Federal Reserve was not responding to the inflation triggered by oil price shocks, as commonly presumed, but rather to the oil price shocks directly, consistent with a preemptive move by the Federal Reserve to counteract potential inflationary pressures. There are indications that this response is poorly identified, however, and there is no evidence that this policy response in the pre-1987 period caused substantial fluctuations in the Federal Funds rate or in real output. Our analysis suggests that the traditional monetary policy reaction framework explored by BGW and incorporated in subsequent DSGE models should be replaced by DSGE models that take account of the endogeneity of the real price of oil and that allow policy responses to depend on the underlying causes of oil price shocks.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2011.02437.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 555 (09)
Pages: 1047-1072

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:555:p:1047-1072

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References

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  1. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Goncalves, Silvia & Kilian, Lutz, 2004. "Bootstrapping autoregressions with conditional heteroskedasticity of unknown form," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 89-120, November.
  3. Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6559, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Renee Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent, 2010. "Inflation in an Era of Relative Pirce Shocks," CAMA Working Papers 2010-38, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  5. Bańbura, Marta & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2008. "Large Bayesian VARs," Working Paper Series 0966, European Central Bank.
  6. Lutz Kilian & Clara Vega, 2008. "Do energy prices respond to U.S. macroeconomic news? a test of the hypothesis of predetermined energy prices," International Finance Discussion Papers 957, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Robert Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2004. "Oil and the Macroeconomy Since the 1970s," NBER Working Papers 10855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kilian, Lutz, 2005. "The Effects of Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks on Output and Inflation: Evidence from the G7 Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5404, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Anton Nakov & Andrea Pescatori, 2007. "Inflation-output gap trade-off with a dominant oil supplier," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0723, Banco de Espa�a.
  10. repec:acb:camaaa:2010-38 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Kilian, Lutz & Rebucci, Alessandro & Spatafora, Nikola, 2007. "Oil Shocks and External Balances," CEPR Discussion Papers 6303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Lutz Kilian & Robert Vigfusson, 2009. "Pitfalls in estimating asymmetric effects of energy price shocks," International Finance Discussion Papers 970, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Erceg & Martin Bodenstein, 2008. "Oil Shocks and External Adjustment," 2008 Meeting Papers 945, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "Oil Price Shocks, Monetary Policy and Stagflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7324, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Leduc, Sylvain & Sill, Keith, 2004. "A quantitative analysis of oil-price shocks, systematic monetary policy, and economic downturns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 781-808, May.
  16. Angelini, Elena & Henry, Jérôme & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2004. "Interpolation and Backdating with A Large Information Set," CEPR Discussion Papers 4533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Edelstein, Paul & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "How sensitive are consumer expenditures to retail energy prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 766-779, September.
  18. Hamilton, James D., 2003. "What is an oil shock?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 363-398, April.
  19. Herrera, Ana María & Pesavento, Elena, 2009. "Oil Price Shocks, Systematic Monetary Policy, And The “Great Moderation”," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 107-137, February.
  20. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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