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Uncertainty at the zero lower bound

  • Taisuke Nakata

This paper examines how the presence of uncertainty alters allocations and prices when the nominal interest rate is constrained by the zero lower bound. I conduct the analysis using a standard New Keynesian model in which the nominal interest rate is determined according to a truncated Taylor rule. I find that an increase in the variance of shocks to the discount factor process reduces consumption, inflation, and output by a substantially larger amount when the zero lower bound is binding than when it is not. Due to the zero lower bound constraint, policy functions for the real interest rates and the marginal costs of production are highly convex and concave, respectively. As a result, a mean-preserving spread in the shock distribution increases the expectation of future real interest rates and decreases the expectation of future real marginal costs, which lead forward-looking households and firms to reduce consumption and set lower prices today. The more flexible prices are, the larger the effects of uncertainty are at the zero lower bound.

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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 2013-09.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-09
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  1. Susanto Basu & Brent Bundick, 2012. "Uncertainty shocks in a model of effective demand," Working Papers 12-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana & Keith Kuester & Juan Rubio-Ramirez, 2011. "Fiscal volatility shocks and economic activity," Working Papers 11-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Christopher Gust & David Lopez-Salido & Matthew E. Smith, 2012. "The empirical implications of the interest-rate lower bound," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-83, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Anton Nakov, 2006. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0637, Banco de Espa�a.
  5. Klaus Adam & Roberto M. Billi, 2005. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Research Working Paper RWP 05-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  6. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Grey Gordon & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2012. "Nonlinear adventures at the zero lower bound," Working Papers 12-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 78 - 121.
  8. Roberto M. Billi, 2011. "Optimal Inflation for the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-52, July.
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