Optimal-Control Monetary Policy in the FRB/US Model
The question of how best to conduct monetary policy has been studied by economists for a long time. Over the past 25 years or so, attention has focused on systematic approaches to setting the short-term interest rate in a manner that effectively balances policymaker objectives.
Estimating the macroeconomic effects of the Fed’s asset purchases
An analysis shows that the Federal Reserve?s large-scale asset purchases have been effective at reducing the economic costs of the zero lower bound on interest rates. Model simulations indicate that, by 2012, the past and projected expansion of the Fed?s securities holdings since late 2008 will lower the unemployment rate by 1 percentage points relative to what it would have been absent the purchases. The asset purchases also have probably prevented the U.S. economy from falling into deflation.
Gauging the Uncertainty of the Economic Outlook Using Historical Forecasting Errors : The Federal Reserve's Approach
Since November 2007, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the U.S. Federal Reserve has regularly published participants? qualitative assessments of the uncertainty attending their individual forecasts of real activity and inflation, expressed relative to that seen on average in the past. The benchmarks used for these historical comparisons are the average root mean squared forecast errors (RMSEs) made by various private and government forecasters over the past twenty years. This paper documents how these benchmarks are constructed and discusses some of their properties. We draw several ...
Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era
The zero lower bound on nominal interest rates constrains the central bank's ability to stimulate the economy during downturns. We use the FRB/US model to quantify the effects of the zero bound on macroeconomic stabilization and to explore how policy can be designed to minimize these effects. During particularly severe contractions, open-market operations alone may be insufficient to restore equilibrium; some other stimulus is needed. Abstracting from such rare events, if policy follows the Taylor rule and targets a zero-inflation rate, there is a significant increase in the variability of ...
Gauging the Ability of the FOMC to Respond to Future Recessions
Current forecasts suggest that the federal funds rate in the future is likely to level out at a rather low level by historical standards. If so, then the FOMC will have less ability than in the past to cut short-term interest rates in response to a future recession, suggesting a risk that economic downturns could turn out to be more severe as a result. However, simulations of the FRB/US model of a severe recession suggest that large-scale asset purchases and forward guidance about the future path of the federal funds rate should be able to provide enough additional accommodation to fully ...
The forecasting accuracy of auto assembly schedules
Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy
We exploit data on historical revisions to real-time estimates of the output gap to examine the implications of measurement error for the design of monetary policy, using the Federal Reserve's model of the U.S. economy, FRB/US. Measurement error brings about a substantial deterioration in economic performance, although the problem can be mitigated somewhat by reducing the coefficient on the output gap in policy rules. We also show that it is usually optimal to place some weight on the level of the output gap in the conduct of policy, but under extreme conditions it may be preferable to focus ...
Expectations formation and the effectiveness of strategies for limiting the consequences of the zero bound on interest rates
We use simulations of the Federal Reserve's FRB/US model to examine the efficacy of a number of proposals for reducing the consequences of the zero bound on nominal interest rates. Among the proposals are: a more aggressive monetary policy; promises to make up any shortfall in monetary ease during the zero-bound period by keeping interest rates lower in the future; and the adoption of a price-level target. We consider two assumptions about expectations formation. One assumption is fully model-consistent expectations (MCE)--a reasonable assumption when a policy has been in place for some time, ...