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Expectations formation and the effectiveness of strategies for limiting the consequences of the zero bound on interest rates

  • David L. Reifschneider
  • John M. Roberts

We use simulations of the Federal Reserve's FRB/US model to examine the efficacy of a number of proposals for reducing the consequences of the zero bound on nominal interest rates. Among the proposals are: a more aggressive monetary policy; promises to make up any shortfall in monetary ease during the zero-bound period by keeping interest rates lower in the future; and the adoption of a price-level target. We consider two assumptions about expectations formation. One assumption is fully model-consistent expectations (MCE)--a reasonable assumption when a policy has been in place for some time, but perhaps less so for a newly announced policy. We therefore also consider the possibility that only financial markets have MCE, and that other agents form their expectations using a small-scale VAR model estimated using historical data. All of the policies noted above are highly effective at reducing the adverse effects of the zero bound under MCE, but their efficacy drops considerably when households and firms base their expectations on the historical average behavior of the economy, and only investors fully recognize the economic implications of the various proposals.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2005-70.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-70
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  8. Roberts, John M, 2006. "Monetary Policy and Inflation Dynamics," MPRA Paper 812, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-95, August.
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  17. Donald L. Kohn & Brian P. Sack, 2003. "Central bank talk: does it matter and why?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. English William B. & Nelson William R. & Sack Brian P., 2003. "Interpreting the Significance of the Lagged Interest Rate in Estimated Monetary Policy Rules," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, April.
  19. Flint Brayton & Peter A. Tinsley, 1996. "A guide to FRB/US: a macroeconomic model of the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
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  22. Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Reifschneider, David L., 2002. "Short-Run Effects of Fiscal Policy with Forward-Looking Financial Markets," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 357-86, September.
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