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Pushing On a String: US Monetary Policy is Less Powerful in Recessions

  • Silvana Tenreyro
  • Gregory Thwaites

We estimate the impulse response of key US macro series to the monetary policy shocks identified by Romer and Romer (2004), allowing the response to depend flexibly on the state of the business cycle. We find strong evidence that the effects of monetary policy on real and nominal variables are more powerful in expansions than in recessions. The magnitude of the difference is particularly large in durables expenditure and business investment. The effect is not attributable to differences in the response of fiscal variables or the external finance premium. We find some evidence that contractionary policy shocks have more powerful effects than expansionary shocks. But contractionary shocks have not been more common in booms, so this asymmetry cannot explain our main finding.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1218.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1218
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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Weise, Charles L, 1999. "The Asymmetric Effects of Monetary Policy: A Nonlinear Vector Autoregression Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(1), pages 85-108, February.
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  6. Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Kueng, Lorenz & Silvia, John, 2012. "Innocent Bystanders? Monetary Policy and Inequality in the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 6633, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  8. RenÈ Garcia, 2002. "Are the Effects of Monetary Policy Asymmetric?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 102-119, January.
  9. Valerie A. Ramey & Sarah Zubairy, 2014. "Government Spending Multipliers in Good Times and in Bad: Evidence from U.S. Historical Data," NBER Working Papers 20719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ming Chien Lo & Jeremy M. Piger, 2003. "Is the response of output to monetary policy asymmetric? evidence from a regime-switching coefficients model," Working Papers 2001-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  11. David Berger & Joseph Vavra, 2014. "Consumption Dynamics During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 20175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joseph Vavra, 2011. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Uncertainty: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," 2011 Meeting Papers 126, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Joshua D. Angrist & Òscar Jordà & Guido M. Kuersteiner, 2013. "Semiparametric estimates of monetary policy effects: string theory revisited," Working Paper Series 2013-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. Peersman, Gert & Smets, Frank, 2001. "Are the effects of monetary policy in the euro area greater in recessions than in booms?," Working Paper Series 0052, European Central Bank.
  15. Karl Whelan, 2000. "A guide to the use of chain aggregated NIPA data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1055-1084, September.
  17. James Peery Cover, 1992. "Asymmetric Effects of Positive and Negative Money-Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1261-1282.
  18. Scott, A. & Acemoglu, D., 1995. "Asymmetric Business Cycles: Theory and Time-series Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 99173, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  19. Òscar Jordà, 2005. "Estimation and Inference of Impulse Responses by Local Projections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 161-182, March.
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