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Uncertainty at the Zero Lower Bound

  • Taisuke Nakata

    (Federal Reserve Board)

This paper examines how the presence of uncertainty alters allocations and prices when the nominal interest rate is constrained by the zero lower bound. I conduct the analysis using a standard New Keynesian model in which the nominal interest rate is determined according to a truncated Taylor rule. I find that an increase in the variance of shocks to the discount factor process reduces consumption, inflation, and output by a substantially larger amount when the zero lower bound is binding than when it is not. Due to the zero lower bound constraint, policy functions for the real interest rates and the marginal costs of production are highly convex and concave, respectively. As a result, a mean-preserving spread in the shock distribution increases the expectation of future real interest rates and decreases the expectation of future real marginal costs, which lead forward-looking households and firms to reduce consumption and set lower prices today. The more flexible prices are, the larger the effects of uncertainty are at the zero lower bound.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 924.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:924
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Grey Gordon & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2012. "Nonlinear adventures at the zero lower bound," Working Papers 12-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2004. "Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates," Working Paper Series 0377, European Central Bank.
  3. Susanto Basu & Brent Bundick, 2012. "Uncertainty shocks in a model of effective demand," Working Papers 12-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. Gust, Christopher & López-Salido, J David & Smith, Matthew E, 2012. "The Empirical Implications of the Interest-Rate Lower Bound," CEPR Discussion Papers 9214, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 78 - 121.
  6. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana & Keith Kuester & Juan Rubio-Ramirez, 2011. "Fiscal Volatility Shocks and Economic Activity," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-022, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Roberto M. Billi, 2011. "Optimal Inflation for the US Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 29-52, July.
  8. Anton Nakov, 2006. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0637, Banco de Espa�a.
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