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Long-term debt pricing and monetary policy transmission under imperfect knowledge

  • Stefano Eusepi
  • Marc Giannoni
  • Bruce Preston

Under rational expectations, monetary policy is generally highly effective in stabilizing the economy. Aggregate demand management operates through the expectations hypothesis of the term structure: Anticipated movements in future short-term interest rates control current demand. This paper explores the effects of monetary policy under imperfect knowledge and incomplete markets. In this environment, the expectations hypothesis of the yield curve need not hold, a situation called unanchored financial market expectations. Whether or not financial market expectations are anchored, the private sector’s imperfect knowledge mitigates the efficacy of optimal monetary policy. Under anchored expectations, slow adjustment of interest rate beliefs limits scope to adjust current interest rate policy in response to evolving macroeconomic conditions. Imperfect knowledge represents an additional distortion confronting policy, leading to greater inflation and output volatility relative to rational expectations. Under unanchored expectations, current interest rate policy is divorced from interest rate expectations. This permits aggressive adjustment in current interest rate policy to stabilize inflation and output. However, unanchored expectations are shown to raise significantly the probability of encountering the zero lower bound constraint on nominal interest rates. The longer the average maturity structure of the public debt, the more severe is the constraint.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 547.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:547
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  1. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Macroeconomics 0510022, EconWPA.
  2. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2012. "Debt, Policy Uncertainty, And Expectations Stabilization," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 860-886, 08.
  3. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  4. Giannoni, Marc & Woodford, Michael, 2010. "Optimal Target Criteria for Stabilization Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7719, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Krisztina Molnar & Sergio Santoro, 2006. "Optimal Monetary Policy when Agents are Learning," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 40, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Convergence of Least-Squares Learning in Environments with Hidden State Variables and Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1306-22, December.
  7. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet, 2011. "Internal Rationality, Imperfect Market Knowledge and Asset Prices," CEP Discussion Papers dp1068, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes F. Wieland, 2010. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models," NBER Working Papers 16093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bruce Preston & Stefano Eusepi, 2011. "The maturity structure of debt, monetary policy and expectations stabilization," 2011 Meeting Papers 1287, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "Interest-Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Working Papers 6618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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