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Risks to price stability, the zero lower bound and forward guidance: a real-time assessment

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  • Coenen, Günter
  • Warne, Anders

Abstract

This paper employs stochastic simulations of the New Area-Wide Model—a micro-founded 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 policy-makers’ 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 materialisation of such upside risks. JEL Classification: E31, E37, E52, E58

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1582.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20131582

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Keywords: deflation; DSGE modelling; euro area; forward guidance; monetary policy; zero lower bound;

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  1. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
  2. 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.
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  12. Coenen, Günter & Straub, Roland & Trabandt, Mathias, 2012. "Gauging the effects of fiscal stimulus packages in the euro area," Working Paper Series 1483, European Central Bank.
  13. 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.
  14. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  15. Marco Del Negro & Marc Giannoni & Christina Patterson, 2012. "The forward guidance puzzle," Staff Reports 574, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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