142 research outputs found

    Why do central banks monitor so many inflation indicators?

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    Monetary policy is typically undertaken with an eye to achieving a select few objectives in the long run. The Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy to promote two long-run goals: price stability and sustainable economic growth. In many other countries, central banks have a single long-run goal defined in terms of an inflation target. Yet while central banks have narrowly defined long-run goals, most monitor a wide range of economic indicators.> Why do central banks collect and analyze so many indicators? Kozicki presents multicountry empirical evidence to assess whether any single indicator reliably predicts inflation. If such an indicator exists, it would need to perform adequately under a wide variety of economic conditions and changing economic structures, because no country faces an unchanging economic environment. One way to test for such robust performance is to examine the value of indicators across a variety of countries experiencing different economic conditions, financial structures, policy shifts, and so forth.> Kozicki first discusses why several widely used indicators might predict inflation. She explains how the predictive performance of these indicators can be compared and reports empirical results for 11 developed economies, including the United States. She concludes that while monitoring the change in GDP growth is useful on average across countries, no single economic indicator is always reliable. This evidence supports an approach to policymaking that involves monitoring a wide range of economic indicators.Banks and banking, Central ; Inflation (Finance)

    Predicting real growth and inflation with the yield spread

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    Analysts often use financial variables to help predict real activity and inflation. One of the most popular of these variables is the spread between yields on long-term and short-term government instruments, also known as the yield spread. Researchers have shown the spread is a good predictor of real activity. For instance, in a recent issue of the Economic Review, Bonser-Neal and Morley found that the spread helps predict real activity over the next year, the next two years, and the next three years.> Kozicki examines the predictive power of the yield spread for real growth and inflation in a collection of industrialized countries. She extends the analysis of Bonser-Neal and Morley by examining in greater detail the horizons at which the yield spread helps predict real growth and by investigating whether information on the level of yields contains additional predictive power beyond that summarized by the spread. She also adds to the existing literature by examining a broader collection of countries than has previously been analyzed and a wider array of forecast horizons. In addition, restrictions imposed in earlier studies are relaxed.> For real activity, Kozicki finds that the predictive power of the yield spread largely derives from its usefulness over horizons of a year or so and generally dominates the predictive power associated with the level of yields. For inflation, although the yield spread helps predict inflation at moderate horizons of a few years, the level of yields is a more useful predictor of inflation.Forecasting ; Interest rates ; Inflation (Finance)

    How useful are Taylor rules for monetary policy?

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    Over the past several years, Taylor rules have attracted increased attention of analysts, policymakers, and the financial press. Taylor rules recommend a setting for the level of the federal funds rate based on the state of the economy. Taylor rules have become more appealing recently with the apparent breakdown in the relationship between money growth and inflation. But, the usefulness of rule recommendations to policymakers has not been well established.> To be useful to policymakers, rule recommendations should be robust to minor variations in the rule specification. For example, if recommendations differ considerably depending on whether price inflation is measured using the core consumer price index or the chain price index for GDP, then the rule may not be very useful. Rule recommendations should also be reliable. A reliable rule might be expected to replicate federal funds rate settings over a period when policymakers thought policy actions were successful. But, even a rule that can replicate favorable policy actions may not be regarded as reliable if past policy decisions were influenced by economic events beyond the scope of the rule.> Kozicki examines whether recommendations from Taylor rules are useful to policymakers as they decide how to adjust the federal funds rate. She suggests that the usefulness of Taylor rule recommendations to policymakers faced with real-time policy decisions is limited. But Taylor rules may be useful to policymakers in other ways. For example, Taylor rules may provide a good starting point for discussions of issues that concern policymakers. Such rules also play an important role in most forecasting models.Taylor's rule ; Federal funds market (United States) ; Monetary policy

    Term Structure Transmission of Monetary Policy

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    Under bond-rate transmission of monetary policy, the authors show that a generalized Taylor Principle applies, in which the average anticipated path of policy responses to inflation is subject to a lower bound of unity. This result helps explain how bond rates may exhibit stable responses to inflation, even in periods of passive policy. Another possible explanation is time-varying term premiums with risk pricing that depends on inflation. The authors present a no-arbitrage model of the term structure with horizon-dependent policy perceptions and time-varying term premiums to illustrate the mechanics and provide empirical results that support these transmission channels.Interest rates; Transmission of monetary policy

    Permanent and Transitory Policy Shocks in an Empirical Macro Model with Asymmetric Information

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    Despite a large literature documenting that the efficacy of monetary policy depends on how inflation expectations are anchored, many monetary policy models assume: (1) the inflation target of moentary policy is constant; and, (2) the inflation target is known by all economic agents. This paper proposes an empirical specification with two policy shocks: permanent changes to the inflation target and transitory perturbations of the short-term real rate. The public sector cannot correctly distinguish between these two shocks and, under incomplete learning, private perceptions of the inflation target will not equal the true target. The paper shows how imperfect policy credibility can affect economic responses to structural shocks, including transition to a new inflation target--a question that cannot be addressed by many commonly used empirical and theoretical models. In contrast to models where all monetary policy actions are transient, the proposed specification implies that sizable movements in historical bond yields and inflation are attributable to perceptions of permanent shocks in target inflationtransmission mechanism, learning, policy credibility, time-varying natural rates, shifting endpoint, inflation target, term structure of interest rates

    Permanent and Transitory Policy Shocks in an Empirical Macro Model with Asymmetric Information

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    Despite a large literature documenting that the efficacy of monetary policy depends on how inflation expectations are anchored, many monetary policy models assume: (1) the inflation target of monetary policy is constant; and, (2) the inflation target is known by all economic agents. This paper proposes an empirical specification with two policy shocks: permanent changes to the inflation target and transitory perturbations of the short-term real rate. The public sector cannot correctly distinguish between these two shocks and, under incomplete learning, private perceptions of the inflation target will not equal the true target. The paper shows how imperfect policy credibility can affect economic responses to structural shocks, including transition to a new inflation target – a question that cannot be addressed by many commonly used empirical and theoretical models. In contrast to models where all monetary policy actions are transient, the proposed specification implies that sizable movements in historical bond yields and inflation are attributable to perceptions of permanent shocks in target inflation.transmission mechanism, learning, policy credibility, time-varying natural rate, shifting endpoint, inflation target, term structure of interest rates

    Term structure transmission of monetary policy

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    The sensitivity of bond rates to macro variables appears to vary both over time and over forecast horizons. The latter may be due to differences in forward rate term premiums and in bond trader perceptions of anticipated policy responses at different forecast horizons. Determinacy of policy transmission through bond rates requires a lower bound on the average responsiveness of term premiums and anticipated policy responses to inflation.Monetary policy

    Survey-Based Estimates of the Term Structure of Expected U.S. Inflation

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    Surveys provide direct information on expectations, but only short histories are available at quarterly frequencies or for long-horizon expectations. Longer histories typically contain only semi-annual observations of short-horizon forecasts. The authors fill in the gaps by constructing a 50-year monthly history of expected inflation at all horizons from one month to 10 years that is consistent with inflation data and infrequent survey data. In the process, some models that fit inflation well are found to generate forecasts that bear little resemblance to survey data. Also, survey data on near-term expectations are found to contain considerable information about long-horizon views. The estimated long-horizon forecast series, a measure of the private sector’s perception of the inflation target of monetary policy, has shifted considerably over time and is the source of some of the persistence of inflation. When compared with estimates of the effective inflation goal of policy, these perceptions suggest that monetary policy has been less than fully credible historically.Inflation and prices; Inflation targets; Uncertainty and monetary policy

    Estimation and Inference by the Method of Projection Minimum Distance

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    A covariance-stationary vector of variables has a Wold representation whose coefficients can be semi-parametrically estimated by local projections (Jordà, 2005). Substituting the Wold representations for variables in model expressions generates restrictions that can be used by the method of minimum distance to estimate model parameters. We call this estimator projection minimum distance (PMD) and show that its parameter estimates are consistent and asymptotically normal. In many cases, PMD is asymptotically equivalent to maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) and nests GMM as a special case. In fact, models whose ML estimation would require numerical routines (such as VARMA models) can often be estimated by simple least-squares routines and almost as efficiently by PMD. Because PMD imposes no constraints on the dynamics of the system, it is often consistent in many situations where alternative estimators would be inconsistent.We provide several Monte Carlo experiments and an empirical application in support of the new techniques introduced.Econometric and statistical methods

    Estimation and Inference by the Method of Projection Minimum Distance

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    A covariance-stationary vector of variables has a Wold representation whose coefficients can be semiparametrically estimated by local projections (Jordà, 2005). Substituting the Wold representations for variables in model expressions generates restrictions that can be used by the method of minimum distance to estimate model parameters. We call this estimator projection minimum distance (PMD) and show that its parameter estimates are consistent and asymptotically normal. In many cases, PMD is asymptotically equivalent to maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) and nests GMM as a special case. In fact, models whose ML estimation would require numerical routines (such as VARMA models) can often be estimated by simple least-squares routines and almost as efficiently by PMD. Because PMD imposes no constraints on the dynamics of the system, it is often consistent in many situations where alternative estimators would be inconsistent. We provide several Monte Carlo experiments and an empirical application in support of the new techniques introduced.impulse response, local projection, minimum chi-square, minimum distance
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