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Macroeconomic effects of Federal Reserve forward guidance

  • Jeffrey R. Campbell
  • Charles Evans
  • Jonas D. M. Fisher
  • Alejandro Justiniano

A large output gap accompanied by stable inflation close to its target calls for further monetary accommodation, but the zero lower bound on interest rates has robbed the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the usual tool for its provision. We examine how public statements of FOMC intentions—forward guidance—can substitute for lower rates at the zero bound. We distinguish between Odyssean forward guidance, which publicly commits the FOMC to a future action, and Delphic forward guidance, which merely forecasts macroeconomic performance and likely monetary policy actions. Others have shown how forward guidance that commits the central bank to keeping rates at zero for longer than conditions would otherwise warrant can provide monetary easing, if the public trusts it. ; We empirically characterize the responses of asset prices and private macroeconomic forecasts to FOMC forward guidance, both before and since the recent financial crisis. Our results show that the FOMC has extensive experience successfully telegraphing its intended adjustments to evolving conditions, so communication difficulties do not present an insurmountable barrier to Odyssean forward guidance. Using an estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model, we investigate how pairing such guidance with bright-line rules for launching rate increases can mitigate risks to the Federal Reserve’s price stability mandate.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2012-03.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2012-03
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  1. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  2. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  4. Vasco Cúrdia & Andrea Ferrero & Ging Cee Ng & Andrea Tambalotti, 2011. "Evaluating interest rate rules in an estimated DSGE model," Staff Reports 510, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Refet Gürkaynak & Brian Sack, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 323, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Justiniano, Alejandro & Primiceri, Giorgio E & Tambalotti, Andrea, 2009. "Investment Shocks and the Relative Price of Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7598, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  8. Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D.M., 2007. "Estimating the frequency of price re-optimization in Calvo-style models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 2032-2047, October.
  9. John Williams & Eric Swanson, 2012. "Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates," 2012 Meeting Papers 462, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. James D. Hamilton & Seth Pruitt & Scott C. Borger, 2009. "The market-perceived monetary policy rule," International Finance Discussion Papers 982, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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