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Oil prices, monetary policy, and the macroeconomy

Author

Listed:
  • Charles T. Carlstrom
  • Timothy S. Fuerst

Abstract

Every U.S. recession since 1971 has been preceded by two things: an oil price shock and an increase in the federal funds rate. Bernanke, Gertler, and Watson (1997,2004) investigated how much oil price shocks have contributed to output growth by asking the following counterfactual question: Empirically how much would we expect oil price increases to have contributed to output growth if the Fed had kept the rate constant instead of letting it increase? They concluded that, at most, half of the observed output declines can be attributed to oil price increases. Most were actually caused by funds rate increases. A problem with their empirical analysis, however, is that it implicitly assumes that the Fed can continually “fool” the public. That is, the funds rate is led constant even though the public actually expects the Fed to follow its historical policy rule of raising the funds rate in conjunction with oil price increases. We show that if the new policy rule were anticipated oil price increases would have had a much larger impact on output than suggested by Bernanke, Gertler, and Watson’s analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles T. Carlstrom & Timothy S. Fuerst, 2005. "Oil prices, monetary policy, and the macroeconomy," Policy Discussion Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Apr.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcpd:y:2005:i:apr:n:10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hamilton, James D & Herrera, Ana Maria, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 265-286, April.
    2. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Mark Watson, 1997. "Systematic Monetary Policy and the Effects of Oil Price Shocks," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 91-157.
    3. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
    4. Sharon Kozicki, 1999. "How useful are Taylor rules for monetary policy?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 5-33.
    5. Bernanke, Ben S & Gertler, Mark & Watson, Mark W, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Reply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 287-291, April.
    6. Sims, Christopher A. & Zha, Tao, 2006. "Does Monetary Policy Generate Recessions?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 231-272, April.
    7. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wu, Man-Hwa & Ni, Yen-Sen, 2011. "The effects of oil prices on inflation, interest rates and money," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 4158-4164.
    2. Jean‐Marc Natal, 2012. "Monetary Policy Response to Oil Price Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(1), pages 53-101, February.
    3. Carlstrom, Charles T. & Fuerst, Timothy S., 2006. "Oil Prices, Monetary Policy, and Counterfactual Experiments," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1945-1958, October.
    4. Hernandez Martinez, Fernando, 2009. "Efectos del incremento del precio del petróleo en la economía española: Análisis de cointegración y de la política monetaria mediante reglas de Taylor
      [Oil price shocks and the spanish economy: Coi
      ," MPRA Paper 18056, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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