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Risks to Price Stability, the Zero Lower Bound, and Forward Guidance: A Real-Time Assessment

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  • Günter Coenen

    (European Central Bank)

  • Anders Warne

    (European Central Bank)

Abstract

This paper employs stochastic simulations of the New Area- Wide Model—a microfounded open-economy model developed at the ECB—to investigate the consequences of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates for the evolution of risks to price stability in the euro area during the recent financial crisis. Using a formal measure of the balance of risks, which is derived from policymakers’ preferences about inflation outcomes, we first show that downside risks to price stability were considerably greater than upside risks during the first half of 2009, followed by a gradual rebalancing of these risks until mid-2011 and a renewed deterioration thereafter. We find that the lower bound has induced a noticeable downward bias in the risk balance throughout our evaluation period because of the implied amplification of deflation risks. We then illustrate that, with nominal interest rates close to zero, forward guidance in the form of a time-based conditional commitment to keep interest rates low for longer can be successful in mitigating downside risks to price stability. However, we find that the provision of time-based forward guidance may give rise to upside risks over the medium term if extended too far into the future. By contrast, time-based forward guidance complemented with a threshold condition concerning tolerable future inflation can provide insurance against the materialization of such upside risks.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 10 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 7-54

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Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2014:q:2:a:1

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  1. Gunter Coenen & Roland Straub & Mathias Trabandt, 2012. "Fiscal Policy and the Great Recession in the Euro Area," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 71-76, May.
  2. Coenen, Günter & Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," CEPR Discussion Papers 3892, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2006. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Commitment with a Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1877-1905, October.
  4. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  5. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2004. "Forecasting with a Bayesian DSGE model: an application to the euro area," Working Paper Series 0389, European Central Bank.
  6. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
  7. Fishburn, Peter C, 1977. "Mean-Risk Analysis with Risk Associated with Below-Target Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 116-26, March.
  8. 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.
  9. Marco Del Negro & Marc Giannoni & Christina Patterson, 2012. "The forward guidance puzzle," Staff Reports 574, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Clinton, Kevin & Garcia-Saltos, Roberto & Johnson, Marianne & Kamenik, Ondrej & Laxton, Douglas, 2010. "International deflation risks under alternative macroeconomic policies," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 140-177, June.
  11. John C. Williams, 2009. "Heeding Daedalus: Optimal Inflation and the Zero Lower Bound," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 1-49.
  12. Fair, Ray C & Taylor, John B, 1983. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1169-85, July.
  13. Anton Nakov, 2008. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(2), pages 73-127, June.
  14. Hess Chung & Jean‐Philippe Laforte & David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2012. "Have We Underestimated the Likelihood and Severity of Zero Lower Bound Events?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 47-82, 02.
  15. Gunter Coenen & Roland Straub & Mathias Trabandt, 2012. "Gauging the effects of fiscal stimulus packages in the Euro area," International Finance Discussion Papers 1061, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Boucekkine, Raouf, 1995. "An alternative methodology for solving nonlinear forward-looking models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 711-734, May.
  17. Christoffel, Kai & Coenen, Günter & Warne, Anders, 2008. "The New Area-Wide Model of the euro area: a micro-founded open-economy model for forecasting and policy analysis," Working Paper Series 0944, European Central Bank.
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