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Risks to price stability, the zero lower bound and forward guidance: A real-time assessment

  • Coenen, Günter
  • Warne, Anders

This paper employs stochastic simulations of the New Area-Wide Model - microfounded open-economy model developed at the ECB - to investigate the consequences of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates for the evolution of risks to price stability in the euro area during the recent financial crisis. Using a formal measure of the balance of risks, which is derived from policy-makers' preferences about inflation outcomes, we first show that downside risks to price stability were considerably greater than upside risks during the first half of 2009, followed by a gradual rebalancing of these risks until mid-2011 and a renewed deterioration thereafter. We find that the lower bound has induced a noticeable downward bias in the risk balance throughout our evaluation period because of the implied amplification of deflation risks. We then illustrate that, with nominal interest rates close to zero, forward guidance in the form of a time-based conditional commitment to keep interest rates low for longer can be successful in mitigating downside risks to price stability. However, we find that the provision of time-based forward guidance may give rise to upside risks over the medium term if extended too far into the future. By contrast, time-based forward guidance complemented with a threshold condition concerning tolerable future inflation can provide insurance against the materialisation of such upside risks.

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Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2013/06.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:201306
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  1. Christoffel, Kai & Coenen, Günter & Warne, Anders, 2008. "The New Area-Wide Model of the euro area: a micro-founded open-economy model for forecasting and policy analysis," Working Paper Series 0944, European Central Bank.
  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. Levin, Andrew & López-Salido, J David & Nelson, Edward & Yun, Tack, 2009. "Limitations on the Effectiveness of Forward Guidance at the Zero Lower Bound," CEPR Discussion Papers 7581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Coenen, Günter & Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," CEPR Discussion Papers 3892, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Anton Nakov, 2008. "Optimal and Simple Monetary Policy Rules with Zero Floor on the Nominal Interest Rate," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(2), pages 73-127, June.
  6. Coenen, Günter & Straub, Roland & Trabandt, Mathias, 2013. "Gauging the effects of fiscal stimulus packages in the euro area," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 367-386.
  7. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
  8. Boucekkine, Raouf, 1995. "An alternative methodology for solving nonlinear forward-looking models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 711-734, May.
  9. Fishburn, Peter C, 1977. "Mean-Risk Analysis with Risk Associated with Below-Target Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 116-26, March.
  10. Hess Chung & Jean-Philippe Laforte & David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2011. "Have we underestimated the likelihood and severity of zero lower bound events?," Working Paper Series 2011-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2004. "Forecasting with a Bayesian DSGE Model: An Application to the Euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 4749, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Bodenstein, Martin & Hebden, James & Nunes, Ricardo, 2012. "Imperfect credibility and the zero lower bound," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 135-149.
  13. John C. Williams, 2009. "Heeding Daedalus: Optimal Inflation and the Zero Lower Bound," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 1-49.
  14. Ray C. Fair & John B. Taylor, 1980. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear RationalExpectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  16. Gunter Coenen & Roland Straub & Mathias Trabandt, 2012. "Fiscal Policy and the Great Recession in the Euro Area," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 71-76, May.
  17. Clinton, Kevin & Garcia-Saltos, Roberto & Johnson, Marianne & Kamenik, Ondrej & Laxton, Douglas, 2010. "International deflation risks under alternative macroeconomic policies," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 140-177, June.
  18. Marco Del Negro & Marc Giannoni & Christina Patterson, 2012. "The forward guidance puzzle," Staff Reports 574, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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