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The forward guidance puzzle


  • Del Negro, Marco

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Giannoni, Marc

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Patterson, Christina

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


With short-term interest rates at the zero lower bound, forward guidance has become a key tool for central bankers, and yet we know little about its effectiveness. This paper first empirically documents the impact of forward guidance announcements on a broad cross section of financial markets data and professional forecasts. We find that Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcements containing forward guidance had heterogeneous effects depending on the other content of the statement. We show that once we control for these other elements, forward guidance had, on average, positive and meaningful effects on output and inflation expectations. Using this benchmark, we then show that standard medium-scale DSGE models tend to grossly overestimate the impact of forward guidance on the macroeconomy, a phenomenon we call the “forward guidance puzzle.” We explain why this is the case and show that incorporating a perpetual youth structure into the benchmark provides a possible resolution to the puzzle.

Suggested Citation

  • Del Negro, Marco & Giannoni, Marc & Patterson, Christina, 2012. "The forward guidance puzzle," Staff Reports 574, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Dec 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:574

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2011. "The Effects of Quantitative Easing on Interest Rates: Channels and Implications for Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 215-287.
    2. Michael D. Bauer & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2014. "The Signaling Channel for Federal Reserve Bond Purchases," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(3), pages 233-289, September.
    3. Refet S Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
    4. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
    5. Rochelle M. Edge & Refet S. Gurkaynak, 2010. "How Useful Are Estimated DSGE Model Forecasts for Central Bankers?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 209-259.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco D'Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber, 2016. "Unconventional Fiscal Policy, Inflation Expectations, and Consumption Expenditure," CESifo Working Paper Series 5793, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Kiendrebeogo, Youssouf, 2016. "Unconventional monetary policy and capital flows," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 412-424.
    3. Binder, Michael & Lieberknecht, Philipp & Quintana, Jorge & Wieland, Volker, 2017. "Model Uncertainty in Macroeconomics: On the Implications of Financial Frictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 12013, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Jordi Galí, 2016. "Monetary policy and bubbles in a new Keynesian model with overlapping generations," Economics Working Papers 1561, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2017.
    5. repec:eee:moneco:v:92:y:2017:i:c:p:47-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Francesco D’Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber, 2017. "The Effect of Unconventional Fiscal Policy on Consumption Expenditure," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(1), pages 09-11, April.
    7. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:678-711 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Rannenberg, Ansgar, 2017. "The effect of fiscal policy and forward guidance with preferences over wealth," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168070, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Benjamin D. Keen & Alexander W. Richter & Nathaniel A. Throckmorton, 2017. "Forward Guidance And The State Of The Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1593-1624, October.
    10. Harrison, Richard, 2015. "Estimating the effects of forward guidance in rational expectations models," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 196-213.
    11. Michelle Bongard & Gabriele Galati & Richhild Moessner & William Nelson, 2016. "Connecting the dots: market reactions to forecasts of policy rates and forward guidance provided by the Fed," DNB Working Papers 523, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    12. Gaetano Gaballo, 2016. "Rational Inattention to News: The Perils of Forward Guidance," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 42-97, January.
    13. Moessner, Richhild, 2015. "Reactions of US government bond yields to explicit FOMC forward guidance," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 217-233.
    14. Richhild Moessner & David-Jan Jansen & Jakob de Haan, 2017. "Communication About Future Policy Rates In Theory And Practice: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 678-711, July.
    15. Günter Coenen & Anders Warne, 2014. "Risks to Price Stability, the Zero Lower Bound, and Forward Guidance: A Real-Time Assessment," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(2), pages 7-54, June.
    16. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:257-272 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Caggiano, Giovanni & Castelnuovo, Efrem & Pellegrino, Giovanni, 2017. "Estimating the real effects of uncertainty shocks at the Zero Lower Bound," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 257-272.
    18. Yıldız Akkaya & Refet S. Gürkaynak & Burçin Kısacıkoğlu & Jonathan H. Wright, 2015. "Forward Guidance and Asset Prices," IMES Discussion Paper Series 15-E-06, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    19. Ricco, Giovanni & Callegari, Giovanni & Cimadomo, Jacopo, 2014. "Signals from the Government: Policy Uncertainty and the Transmission of Fiscal Shocks," MPRA Paper 56136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Cole, Stephen, 2015. "Learning and the effectiveness of central bank forward guidance," MPRA Paper 65207, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Hettig, Thomas & M�ller, Gernot, 2017. "Fiscal policy coordination in currency unions at the effective lower bound," CEPR Discussion Papers 11780, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    unconventional monetary policies; forward guidance; DSGE models; perpetual youth models;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C54 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Quantitative Policy Modeling
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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