Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates
AbstractThe zero lower bound on nominal interest rates has constrained the Federal Reserve's setting of the overnight federal funds rate for over three years running. According to many macroeconomic models, such an extended period of being stuck at the zero bound has important implications for the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policies. However, economic theory also implies that households' and firms' decisions depend on the entire path of expected future short-term interest rates, not just the current level of the overnight rate. Thus, interest rates with a year or more to maturity are arguably the most relevant for the private sector, and it is unclear to what extent the zero lower bound has affected those rates. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to measure when and to what extent the zero lower bound affects interest rates of any maturity. We compare the sensitivity of interest rates of various maturities to macroeconomic news during periods when short-term interest rates are very low to that during normal times. We find that yields on Treasury securities with six months or less to maturity have been strongly affected by the zero bound during most or all of the period when the federal funds rate was near zero. In stark contrast to this finding, yields with more than two years to maturity have responded to economic news during the past three years in their usual way. One- and two-year Treasury yields represent an intermediate case, being partially constrained by the zero bound over part of the period when the funds rate was near zero. We provide two explanations for these results. First, market participants have consistently expected the zero bound to constrain policy for only about a year into the future, minimizing its effect on longer-term yields. Second, the Federal Reserve's unconventional policy actions may be offsetting the effects of the zero bound on longer-term yields.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 462.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Eric T. Swanson & John C. Williams, 2012. "Measuring the effect of the zero lower bound on medium- and longer-term interest rates," Working Paper Series 2012-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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.:
- Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2006.
"Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations,"
Working Paper Series
2006-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
- Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2002. "Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Refet Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2004.
"Do actions speak louder than words? the response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2004-66, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Refet S Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
- Refet GÃ¼rkaynak & Brian Sack, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 323, Society for Computational Economics.
- Gurkaynak, Refet S & Sack, Brian & Swanson, Eric T, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," MPRA Paper 820, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Refet Gurkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Macroeconomics 0504013, EconWPA.
- Refet S Gürkaynak & Andrew Levin & Eric Swanson, 2010. "Does Inflation Targeting Anchor Long-Run Inflation Expectations? Evidence from the U.S., UK, and Sweden," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1208-1242, December.
- Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
- Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes, 2007. "Loose commitment," International Finance Discussion Papers 916, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Eric T. Swanson, 2011.
"Let’s twist again: a high-frequency event-study analysis of operation twist and its implications for QE2,"
Working Paper Series
2011-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 151-207.
- 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.
- 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.
- James D. Hamilton & Jing Cynthia Wu, 2011. "The Effectiveness of Alternative Monetary Policy Tools in a Zero Lower Bound Environment," NBER Working Papers 16956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Galvao, Ana Beatriz & Costa, Sonia, 2013. "Does the euro area forward rate provide accurate forecasts of the short rate?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 131-141.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.