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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. Thoma, Mark A., 1994. "Subsample instability and asymmetries in money-income causality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 279-306.
  3. John Silvia & Lorenz Kueng & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Innocent Bystanders? Monetary Policy and Inequality in the U.S," IMF Working Papers 12/199, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2003. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," NBER Working Papers 9866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Garcia, R. & Schaller, H., 1995. "Are the Effects of Monetary Policy Asymmetric?," Cahiers de recherche 9505, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  6. Joseph S. Vavra, 2013. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Volatility: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 19148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Simon Gilchrist & Egon Zakrajsek, 2012. "Credit Spreads and Business Cycle Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1692-1720, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Joseph Vavra & David Berger, 2012. "Consumption Dynamics During the Great Recession," 2012 Meeting Papers 109, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. David Berger & Joseph Vavra, 2015. "Consumption Dynamics During Recessions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 101-154, 01.
  12. 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.
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:215-258 is not listed on IDEAS
  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.
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