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Monetary Policy in a Low Interest Rate World

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  • Michael T. Kiley
  • John M. Roberts

Abstract

Nominal interest rates may remain substantially below the averages of the last half-century, as central bank?s inflation objectives lie below the average level of inflation and estimates of the real interest rate likely to prevail over the long run fall notably short of the average real interest rate experienced over this period. Persistently low nominal interest rates may lead to more frequent and costly episodes at the effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates. We revisit the frequency and potential costs of such episodes in a low-interest-rate world in a dynamic-stochastic-general-equilibrium (DSGE) model and large-scale econometric model, the FRB/US model. Several conclusions emerge. First, monetary policy strategies based on traditional policy rules lead to poor economic performance when the equilibrium interest rate is low, with economic activity and inflation more volatile and systematically falling short of desirable levels. Moreover, the frequency and length of ELB episodes under such policy approaches is significantly higher than in previous studies. Second, a risk-adjustment to a simple rule in which monetary policymakers are more accommodative, on average, than prescribed by the rule ensures that inflation achieves its 2 percent objective and requires that policymakers aim at inflation near 3 percent when the ELB is not binding. Third, commitment strategies in which monetary accommodation is not removed until either inflation or economic activity overshoot their long-run objectives are very effective in both the DSGE and FRB/US model. Finally, our results suggest that the adverse effects associated with the ELB may be substantial at inflation targets near 2 percent if r* is low and monetary policy follows a traditional policy approach. Whether such adverse effects could justify a higher inflation target depends on whether monetary policy strategies substantially different from traditional approaches are feasible and an assessment of the effects of the inflation target on economic welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael T. Kiley & John M. Roberts, 2017. "Monetary Policy in a Low Interest Rate World," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-080, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2017-80
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2017.080
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    File URL: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/feds/files/2017080pap.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. My analysis of low rates and monetary policy–link to Ben Bernanke comments and FEDS version
      by thebusinesscycleblog in The business cycle blog on 2017-08-19 20:26:04

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    Cited by:

    1. Philip Coyle & Taisuke Nakata, 2019. "Optimal Inflation Target with Expectations-Driven Liquidity Traps," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-036, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Günter Coenen & Carlos Montes-Galdón & Frank Smets, 2019. "Effects of State-Dependent Forward Guidance, Large-Scale Asset Purchases and Fiscal Stimulus in a Low-Interest-Rate Environment," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/983, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Louisa Kammerer & Miguel Ramirez, 2018. "Did Smaller Firms Face Higher Costs of Credit During the Great Recession? A Vector Error Correction Analysis with Structural Breaks," Research in Applied Economics, Macrothink Institute, vol. 10(3), pages 1-23, June.
    4. Philippe Andrade & Jordi Galí & Hervé Le Bihan & Julien Matheron, 2017. "The optimal inflation target and the natural rate of interest," Economics Working Papers 1591, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2019.
    5. Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi & Matthias Rottner, 2019. "Hitting the Elusive Inflation Target," Working Paper Series WP-2019-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Marco Del Negro & Domenico Giannone & Marc P. Giannoni & Andrea Tambalotti, 2017. "Safety, Liquidity, and the Natural Rate of Interest," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 235-316.
    7. Eo, Yunjong & Lie, Denny, 2018. "Changes in the Inflation Target and the Comovement between Inflation and the Nominal Interest Rate," Working Papers 2018-02, University of Sydney, School of Economics, revised May 2020.
    8. Hampl, Mojmir & Havranek, Tomas, 2018. "Central Bank Capital as an Instrument of Monetary Policy," EconStor Preprints 176828, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    9. Nakata, Taisuke & Ogaki, Ryota & Schmidt, Sebastian & Yoo, Paul, 2019. "Attenuating the forward guidance puzzle: Implications for optimal monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 90-106.
    10. Giuseppe Ferrero & Marco Gross & Stefano Neri, 2019. "On secular stagnation and low interest rates: Demography matters," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 262-278, December.
    11. Janice C. Eberly & James H. Stock & Jonathan H. Wright, 2019. "The Federal Reserve’s Current Framework for Monetary Policy: A Review and Assessment," NBER Working Papers 26002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Gauti Eggertsson & Sergey K. Egiev & Alessandro Lin & Josef Platzer & Luca Riva, 2020. "A Toolkit for Solving Models with a Lower Bound on Interest Rates of Stochastic Duration," Working Papers 2020-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    13. Eo, Yunjong & Kang, Kyu Ho, 2020. "The effects of conventional and unconventional monetary policy on forecasting the yield curve," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    14. Hills, Timothy S. & Nakata, Taisuke & Schmidt, Sebastian, 2019. "Effective lower bound risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    15. repec:cpr:ceprdp:14161 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Sarah Drought & Roger Perry & Adam Richardson, 2018. "Aspects of implementing unconventional monetary policy in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 81, pages 1-22, May.
    17. Michal Franta, 2018. "The likelihood of effective lower bound events," BIS Working Papers 731, Bank for International Settlements.
    18. Thomas M. Mertens & John C. Williams, . "What to expect from the lower bound on interest rates: evidence from derivatives prices," Staff Reports, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    19. repec:cpr:ceprdp:14142 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Heinrichs, Katrin & Wagner, Helmut, 2019. "Positive trend inflation and the Phillips curve – A tale of two slopes and various impulse responses," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 283-307.
    21. Dimitris Malliaropulos & Petros Migiakis, 2018. "Quantitative easing and sovereign bond yields: a global perspective," Working Papers 253, Bank of Greece.
    22. Yakov Ben-Haim & Jan Willem van den End, 2019. "Fundamental uncertainty about the natural rate of interest: Info-gap as guide for monetary policy," DNB Working Papers 650, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    23. Ernest Gnan & Claudia Kwapil & Maria Teresa Valderrama, 2018. "Monetary policy after the crisis: mandates, targets, and international linkages," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q2/18, pages 8-33.
    24. Corbisiero, Giuseppe, 2018. "Monetary policy regimes and the lower bound on interest rates," Economic Letters 6/EL/18, Central Bank of Ireland.
    25. John C. Williams, 2017. "Preparing for the Next Storm: Reassessing Frameworks and Strategies in a Low R-star World," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Interest rates; Model comparison; Monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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