Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Have We Underestimated the Likelihood and Severity of Zero Lower Bound Events?

Contents:

Author Info

  • HESS CHUNG
  • JEAN‐PHILIPPE LAFORTE
  • DAVID REIFSCHNEIDER
  • JOHN C. WILLIAMS

Abstract

Before the recent recession, the consensus among researchers was that the zero lower bound (ZLB) probably would not pose a significant problem for monetary policy as long as a central bank aimed for an inflation rate of about 2 percent; some have even argued that an appreciably lower target inflation rate would pose no problems. This paper reexamines this consensus in the wake of the financial crisis, which has seen policy rates at their effective lower bound for more than two years in the United States and Japan and near zero in many other countries. We conduct our analysis using a set of structural and time series statistical models. We find that the decline in economic activity and interest rates in the United States has generally been well outside forecast confidence bands of many empirical macroeconomic models. In contrast, the decline in inflation has been less surprising. We identify a number of factors that help to account for the degree to which models were surprised by recent events. First, uncertainty about model parameters and latent variables, which were typically ignored in past research, significantly increases the probability of hitting the ZLB. Second, models that are based primarily on the Great Moderation period severely understate the incidence and severity of ZLB events. Third, the propagation mechanisms and shocks embedded in standard DSGE models appear to be insufficient to generate sustained periods of policy being stuck at the ZLB, such as we now observe. We conclude that past estimates of the incidence and effects of the ZLB were too low and suggest a need for a general reexamination of the empirical adequacy of standard models. In addition to this statistical analysis, we show that the ZLB probably had a first-order impact on macroeconomic outcomes in the United States. Finally, we analyze the use of asset purchases as an alternative monetary policy tool when short-term interest rates are constrained by the ZLB, and find that the Federal R

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1538-4616.2011.00478.x
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
Issue (Month): (02)
Pages: 47-82

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:44:y:2012:i::p:47-82

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Javier Andres & J. David López-Salido & Edward Nelson, 2004. "Tobin's imperfect asset substitution in optimizing general equilibrium," Working Papers 2004-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Martin Bodenstein & Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri, 2009. "The effects of foreign shocks when interest rates are at zero," International Finance Discussion Papers 983, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Roberto M. Billi & George A. Kahn, 2008. "What is the optimal inflation rate?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 5-28.
  4. Flint Brayton & Eileen Mauskopf & David Reifschneider & Peter Tinsley & John Williams, 1997. "The role of expectations in the FRB/US macroeconomic model," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 227-245.
  5. 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.
  6. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2008. "Investment shocks and business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-08-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2007. "Natural rate measures in an estimated DSGE model of the U.S. economy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-08, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Reifschneider, David L. & Roberts, John M., 2006. "Expectations formation and the effectiveness of strategies for limiting the consequences of the zero bound," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 314-337, September.
  9. John C. Williams, 2006. "Monetary policy in a low inflation economy with learning," Working Paper Series 2006-30, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Evans, George W. & Guse, Eran & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2008. "Liquidity traps, learning and stagnation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1438-1463, November.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios & Porter, Richard D. & Reifschneider, David & Tetlow, Robert & Finan, Frederico, 2000. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 117-141.
  12. Kiley, Michael T., 2013. "Output gaps," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-18.
  13. David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 1999. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low inflation era," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart, 2004. "Conducting Monetary Policy at Very Low Short-Term Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 85-90, May.
  15. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  16. Thomas Laubach, 2009. "New Evidence on the Interest Rate Effects of Budget Deficits and Debt," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 858-885, 06.
  17. Hamilton, James D., 1986. "A standard error for the estimated state vector of a state-space model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 387-397, December.
  18. Clouse James & Henderson Dale & Orphanides Athanasios & Small David H. & Tinsley P.A., 2003. "Monetary Policy When the Nominal Short-Term Interest Rate is Zero," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-65, September.
  19. Vayanos, Dimitri & Vila, Jean-Luc, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 7547, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Lars O. Svensson & Robert J. Tetlow, 2005. "Optimal Policy Projections," NBER Working Papers 11392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2012. "The Effectiveness of Alternative Monetary Policy Tools in a Zero Lower Bound Environment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 3-46, 02.
  24. Joyce, Michael & Lasaosa, Ana & Stevens , Ibrahim & Tong, Matthew, 2010. "The financial market impact of quantitative easing," Bank of England working papers 393, Bank of England.
  25. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2011. "What Fiscal Policy is Effective at Zero Interest Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 59-112 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Macroeconomic implications of changes in the term premium," Working Paper Series 2006-46, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  27. Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-Study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," 2011 Meeting Papers 982, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  28. Hess T. Chung & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2010. "Documentation of the Estimated, Dynamic, Optimization-based (EDO) model of the U.S. economy: 2010 version," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  29. Justin Weidner & John C. Williams, 2009. "How big is the output gap?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jun12.
  30. George A. Akerlof & William R. Dickens & George L. Perry, 1996. "The Macroeconomics of Low Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 1-76.
  31. Thomas Laubach and John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 35, Society for Computational Economics.
  32. McGough, Bruce & Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Williams, John C., 2005. "Using a long-term interest rate as the monetary policy instrument," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 855-879, July.
  33. Joseph Gagnon & Matthew Raskin & Julie Remache & Brian Sack, 2010. "Large-scale asset purchases by the Federal Reserve: did they work?," Staff Reports 441, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  34. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2009. "The Fed's monetary policy response to the current crisis," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue may22.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Vice Chair Janet L. Yellen: Perspectives on Monetary Policy
    by Guest Author in The Big Picture on 2012-06-07 11:05:32
  2. Full text: Janet Yellen – Perspectives on Monetary Policy
    by Guest Author in Credit Writedowns on 2012-06-07 13:10:28
  3. A motivational speech
    by ? in Free Exchange on 2012-10-11 16:09:17
  4. Ryan Avent on Fed policy failure
    by ssumner in The Money Illusion on 2012-10-13 19:55:36
  5. The Federal Reserve: Looking Back, Looking Forward
    by Guest Author in The Big Picture on 2014-01-04 10:00:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:44:y:2012:i::p:47-82. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.