Measuring the Effect of the Zero Lower Bound on Medium- and Longer-Term Interest Rates
The zero lower bound on nominal interest rates has constrained the Federal Reserve's setting of the overnight federal funds rate for over three years running. According to many macroeconomic models, such an extended period of being stuck at the zero bound has important implications for the effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policies. However, economic theory also implies that households' and firms' decisions depend on the entire path of expected future short-term interest rates, not just the current level of the overnight rate. Thus, interest rates with a year or more to maturity are arguably the most relevant for the private sector, and it is unclear to what extent the zero lower bound has affected those rates. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to measure when and to what extent the zero lower bound affects interest rates of any maturity. We compare the sensitivity of interest rates of various maturities to macroeconomic news during periods when short-term interest rates are very low to that during normal times. We find that yields on Treasury securities with six months or less to maturity have been strongly affected by the zero bound during most or all of the period when the federal funds rate was near zero. In stark contrast to this finding, yields with more than two years to maturity have responded to economic news during the past three years in their usual way. One- and two-year Treasury yields represent an intermediate case, being partially constrained by the zero bound over part of the period when the funds rate was near zero. We provide two explanations for these results. First, market participants have consistently expected the zero bound to constrain policy for only about a year into the future, minimizing its effect on longer-term yields. Second, the Federal Reserve's unconventional policy actions may be offsetting the effects of the zero bound on longer-term yields.
|Date of creation:||2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA|
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2002.
"Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2002-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
- Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations," Working Paper Series 2006-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Eric T. Swanson, 2011.
"Let’s twist again: a high-frequency event-study analysis of operation twist and its implications for QE2,"
Working Paper Series
2011-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 151-207.
- Eric T. Swanson, 2011. "Let's Twist Again: A High-Frequency Event-Study Analysis of Operation Twist and Its Implications for QE2," 2011 Meeting Papers 982, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- David L. Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 1999.
"Three lessons for monetary policy in a low inflation era,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
1999-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- David L. Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
- Brian P. Sack & Volker W. Wieland, 1999.
"Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
1999-39, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Sack, Brian & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 205-228.
- Davide Debortoli & Ricardo Nunes, 2007. "Loose commitment," International Finance Discussion Papers 916, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Michael D. Bauer & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2013. "Monetary policy expectations at the zero lower bound," Working Paper Series 2013-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Arvind Krishnamurthy & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2007. "The Demand for Treasury Debt," NBER Working Papers 12881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chan, K C, et al, 1992.
" An Empirical Comparison of Alternative Models of the Short-Term Interest Rate,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1209-27, July.
- Tom Doan, . "RATS programs to replicate CKLS(1992) estimation of interest rate models," Statistical Software Components RTZ00035, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Ernst Schaumburg & Andrea Tambalotti, 2003.
"An Investigation of the Gains from Commitment in Monetary Policy,"
- Schaumburg, Ernst & Tambalotti, Andrea, 2007. "An investigation of the gains from commitment in monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 302-324, March.
- Ernst Schaumburg & Andrea Tambalotti, 2003. "An investigation of the gains from commitment in monetary policy," Staff Reports 171, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Andrea Tambalotti & Ernst Schaumburg, 2004. "An Investigation of the Gains from Commitment in Monetary Policy," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 282, Econometric Society.
- Vayanos, Dimitri & Vila, Jean-Luc, 2009.
"A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
7547, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dimitri Vayanos & Jean-Luc Vila, 2009. "A preferred-habitat model of the term structure of interest rates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 29308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Jean-Luc Vila & Dimitri Vayanos, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," FMG Discussion Papers dp641, Financial Markets Group.
- Dimitri Vayanos & Jean-Luc Vila, 2009. "A Preferred-Habitat Model of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 15487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jonathan H. Wright, 2012. "What does Monetary Policy do to Long‐term Interest Rates at the Zero Lower Bound?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(564), pages F447-F466, November.
- Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2000.
"Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: evidence from the Fed funds futures markets,"
99, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
- Kim, Don H. & Singleton, Kenneth J., 2012. "Term structure models and the zero bound: An empirical investigation of Japanese yields," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 170(1), pages 32-49.
- Viatcheslav Gorovoi & Vadim Linetsky, 2004. "Black's Model of Interest Rates as Options, Eigenfunction Expansions and Japanese Interest Rates," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 49-78.
- Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed012:462. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.