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Inflation versus price-level targeting and the zero lower bound: Stochastic simulations from the Smets-Wouters US model

Using a version of the Smets-Wouters model of the US economy augmented to include both New Keynesian and New Classical sectors, this paper investigates the performance of inflation targeting and price-level targeting when the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is occasionally-binding. Several notable results emerge. First, the unconditional probability of hitting the lower bound is lower under price-level targeting than inflation targeting, with 'lower bound episodes' being less frequent and lasting for shorter periods of time. Second, the volatilities of key macroeconomic variables are lower under price-level targeting than inflation targeting. Third, the lower frequency and severity of lower bound episodes under price-level targeting appears to have a first-order impact on consumption, investment and output, raising their mean values. Intuitively, price-level targeting performs well because inflation expectations act as automatic stabilisers, reducing the chance of hitting or remaining at the lower bound whilst also providing stability when the economy is away from the lower bound.

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Paper provided by Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section in its series Cardiff Economics Working Papers with number E2011/24.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdf:wpaper:2011/24
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  1. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Eric T. Swanson, 2008. "Examining the bond premium puzzle with a DSGE model," Working Paper Series 2007-25, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Steve Ambler, 2009. "Price-Level Targeting And Stabilisation Policy: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(5), pages 974-997, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Taylor, John B, 2000. "Comment on Three Lessons for Monetary Policy in a Low-Inflation Era," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 973-78, November.
  5. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles : a Bayesian DSGE Approach," Working Paper Research 109, National Bank of Belgium.
  6. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2004/13, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  7. 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.
  8. Gino Cateau & Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Malik Shukayev & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2009. "Adopting Price-Level Targeting under Imperfect Credibility in ToTEM," Working Papers 09-17, Bank of Canada.
  9. Nessén, Marianne & Vestin, David, 2000. "Average Inflation Targeting," Working Paper Series 119, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  10. Sims, Christopher A, 2000. "Comment on Three Lessons for Monetary Policy in a Low-Inflation Era," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 967-72, November.
  11. Le, Vo Phuong Mai & Meenagh, David & Minford, Patrick & Wickens, Michael, 2011. "How much nominal rigidity is there in the US economy? Testing a new Keynesian DSGE model using indirect inference," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2078-2104.
  12. repec:sae:niesru:v:174:y::i:1:p:68-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2010. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models," Working Papers 91, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  14. Vestin, David, 2006. "Price-level versus inflation targeting," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1361-1376, October.
  15. David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
  16. Hess Chung & Jean-Philippe Laforte & David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2011. "Have we underestimated the likelihood and severity of zero lower bound events?," Working Paper Series 2011-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  17. Reifschneider, David & Willams, John C, 2000. "Three Lessons for Monetary Policy in a Low-Inflation Era," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 936-66, November.
  18. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2005. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  19. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  20. Coenen, Günter & Wieland, Volker, 2004. "Exchange-rate policy and the zero bound on nominal interest rates," Working Paper Series 0350, European Central Bank.
  21. Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Price-level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1510, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Malik Shukayev & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2008. "Adopting Price-Level Targeting under Imperfect Credibility: An Update," Working Papers 08-37, Bank of Canada.
  23. Oleksiy Kryvtsov & Malik Shukayev & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2008. "Adopting Price-Level Targeting under Imperfect Credibility," Working Papers 08-3, Bank of Canada.
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