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Pushing on a string: US monetary policy is less powerful in recessions

  • Silvana Tenreyro


    (London School of Economics (LSE), Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
    Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM))

  • Gregory Thwaites


    (Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM))

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 diferences 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 Macroeconomics (CFM) in its series Discussion Papers with number 1301.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfm:wpaper:1301
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  1. Lo, Ming Chien & Piger, Jeremy, 2005. "Is the Response of Output to Monetary Policy Asymmetric? Evidence from a Regime-Switching Coefficients Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 865-86, October.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:215-258 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. 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.
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  7. David Berger & Joseph Vavra, 2015. "Consumption Dynamics During Recessions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 101-154, 01.
  8. Garcia, R. & Schaller, H., 1995. "Are the Effects of Monetary Policy Asymmetric?," Cahiers de recherche 9505, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  9. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Lorenz Kueng & John Silvia, 2012. "Innocent Bystanders? Monetary Policy and Inequality in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 18170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Scott, A. & Acemoglu, D., 1995. "Asymmetric Business Cycles: Theory and Time-series Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 99173, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  12. Karl Whelan, 2000. "A guide to the use of chain aggregated NIPA data," Open Access publications 10197/253, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Working Papers 17447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Thoma, Mark A., 1994. "Subsample instability and asymmetries in money-income causality," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 279-306.
  18. 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.
  19. 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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