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Limitations on the Effectiveness of Forward Guidance at the Zero Lower Bound

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Author Info

  • Andrew Levin

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • David López-Salido

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Edward Nelson

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Yack Yun

    (Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

The recent literature on monetary policy in the presence of a zero lower bound on interest rates has shown that forward guidance regarding the path of interest rates can be very effective in preserving macroeconomic stability in the face of a contractionary demand shock; moreover, that literature apparently leaves little scope for any further improvements in stabilization performance via non-traditional monetary policies. In this paper, we characterize optimal policy under commitment in a prototypical New Keynesian model and examine whether those conclusions are sensitive to the specifiation of the shock process and to the interest elasticity of aggregate demand. Although forward guidance is effective in offsetting natural rate shocks of moderate size and persistence, we find that the macroeconomic outcomes are much less appealing for larger and more persistent shocks, especially when the interest elasticity parameter is set to values widely used in the literature. Thus, while forward guidance could be suffcient for mitigating the effects of a "Great Moderation"-style shock, a combination of forward guidance and other monetary policy measures - such as large-scale asset purchases - might well be called for in responding to a "Great Recession"-style shock.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Journal of Central Banking in its journal International Journal of Central Banking.

Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 143-189

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Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2010:q:1:a:8

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  1. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy Under Commitment with a Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 4111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Levine, Paul & Pearlman, Joseph G. & Pierse, Richard, 2007. "Linear-quadratic approximation, external habit and targeting rules," Working Paper Series 0759, European Central Bank.
  3. Coenen, Günter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The zero-interest-rate bound and the role of the exchange rate for monetary policy in Japan," Working Paper Series 0218, European Central Bank.
  4. Alexander L. Wolman, 1998. "Staggered price setting and the zero bound on nominal interest rates," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 1-24.
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  6. Amato, Jeffery D. & Laubach, Thomas, 2003. "Estimation and control of an optimization-based model with sticky prices and wages," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1181-1215, May.
  7. Anton Nakov, 2006. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0637, Banco de Espa�a.
  8. Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims, 1994. "Toward a modern macroeconomic model usable for policy analysis," Working Paper 94-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Michael Woodford & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," 2004 Meeting Papers 481, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
  11. David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
  12. Gertler, Mark & Karadi, Peter, 2011. "A model of unconventional monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 17-34, January.
  13. Coenen, Guenter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The Zero-Interest-Rate and the Role of the Exchange Rate for Monetary Policy in Japan," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  14. Jung, Taehun & Teranishi, Yuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy at the Zero-Interest-Rate Bound," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 813-35, October.
  15. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  16. Tomohiro Sugo & Yuki Teranishi, 2008. "The Zero Interest Rate Policy," IMES Discussion Paper Series 08-E-20, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  17. Winfield W. Riefler, 1958. "Open market operations in long-term securities," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Nov, pages 1260-1274.
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  1. > Macroeconomics > Monetary Theory
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Cited by:
  1. Michael, Hatcher, 2013. "Aggregate and welfare effects of long run inflation risk under inflation and price-level targeting," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-19, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  2. Carlstrom, Charles & Fuerst, Timothy & Paustian, Matthias, 2012. "Inflation and output in New Keynesian models with a transient interest rate peg," Bank of England working papers 459, Bank of England.
  3. Tambakis, Demosthenes N., 2014. "On the risk of long-run deflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 176-181.
  4. Michael Woodford, 2010. "Optimal Monetary Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 16095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael, Hatcher, 2013. "Indexed versus nominal government debt under inflation and price-level targeting," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-56, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  6. Hatcher, Michael C. & Minford, Patrick, 2013. "Stabilization policy, rational expectations and price-level versus inflation targeting: a survey," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2013/14, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  7. Jouchi Nakajima & Shigenori Shiratsuka & Yuki Teranishi, 2010. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Commitment: Evidence from Time- varying Parameter VAR Analysis," IMES Discussion Paper Series 10-E-06, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  8. Maria Lucia Florez-Jimenez & Julian A. Parra-Polania, 2014. "Forward guidance with an escape clause: When half a promise is better than a full one," Borradores de Economia 811, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  9. Bodenstein, Martin & Hebden, James & Nunes, Ricardo, 2012. "Imperfect credibility and the zero lower bound," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 135-149.
  10. Stephan Fahr & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno & Frank Smets & Oreste Tristani, 2013. "A monetary policy strategy in good and bad times: lessons from the recent past," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 28(74), pages 243-288, 04.
  11. Gavin, William T. & Keen, Benjamin D. & Richter, Alexander & Throckmorton, Nathaniel, 2013. "The stimulative effect of forward guidance," Working Papers 2013-38, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Gerberding, Christina & Gerke, Rafael & Hammermann, Felix, 2012. "Price-level targeting when there is price-level drift," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 757-768.
  13. Kozo Ueda, 2010. "A Time-Invariant Duration Policy under the Zero Lower Bound," IMES Discussion Paper Series 10-E-12, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.

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