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Interest sensitivity and volatility reductions: cross-section evidence

  • F. Owen Irvine
  • Scott Schuh
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    As has been widely observed, the volatility of GDP has declined since the mid-1980s compared with prior years. One leading explanation for this decline is that monetary policy improved significantly in the later period. We utilize a cross-section of 2-digit manufacturing and trade industries to further investigate this explanation. Since a major channel through which monetary policy operates is variation in the federal funds rate, we hypothesized that industries that are more interest sensitive should have experienced larger declines in the variance of their outputs in the post-1983 period. We estimate interest-sensitivity measures for each industry from a variety of VAR models and then run cross-sectional regressions explaining industry volatility ratios as a function of their interest-sensitivity measures. These regressions reveal little evidence of a statistically significant relationship between industry volatility reductions and our measures of industry interest sensitivity. This result poses challenges for the hypothesis that improved monetary policy explains the decline in GDP volatility.

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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 05-4.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:05-4
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    1. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles Nelson & Jeremy Piger, 2001. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," International Finance Discussion Papers 707, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
    5. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-21, September.
    6. Irvine, F. Owen & Schuh, Scott, 2005. "Inventory investment and output volatility," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 75-86, January.
    7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1998. "Monetary Policy Shocks: What Have We Learned and to What End?," NBER Working Papers 6400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
    13. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-40, May.
    14. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
    15. Jean Boivin & Marc Giannoni, 2002. "Assessing changes in the monetary transmission mechanism: a VAR approach," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 97-111.
    16. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
    17. 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.).
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