We study the implications of global supply chains for the design of monetary policy, using a small-open economy New Keynesian model with multiple stages of production.
We review a variety of alternative policy options under the zero lower bound (ZLB) when the foresight of decision makers is limited.
We propose a mechanism whereby polarization of beliefs could eliminate political gridlock instead of intensifying disagreement.
"Fiscal and Monetary Policy Interaction under Limited Foresight." Feb 2020. [Under revision, new draft coming soon]
Abstract: Analyses of the interaction between monetary and fiscal policy often turn crucially on assumptions that are made about outcomes far in the future, sometimes infinitely far. This is a problematic feature of rational-expectations analyses, given the limited basis for assumptions about the distant future. This paper instead considers both short-term effects and long-run consequences of alternative monetary and fiscal policies under an assumption of bounded rationality. In particular, it assumes that explicit forward planning extends only a finite distance into the future, with anticipated situations at that horizon evaluated using a value function learned from past experience. Such an approach makes announcements of future policies relevant, but avoids the debates about equilibrium selection that plague rational-expectations analyses. The combined monetary-fiscal regimes that result in stable long-run dynamics are characterized, and the effectiveness of temporary changes in either type of policy as a source of short-run demand stimulus is analyzed. The effectiveness of a coordinated change in monetary and fiscal policy is shown to be greatest when decision makers' degree of foresight is intermediate in range (average planning horizons on the order of ten years), rather than shorter or longer.
"Fiscal and Monetary Stabilization Policy at the Zero Lower Bound: Consequences of Limited Foresight," with Michael Woodford. May 2020. Prepared for the Carnegie-Rochester-NYU Conference on Public Policy, "Central Banking in the 2020s and Beyond." [Paper]
Abstract: This paper reconsiders the degree to which macroeconomic stabilization is possible when the zero lower bound is a relevant constraint on the effectiveness of conventional monetary policy, under an assumption of bounded rationality. In particular, we reconsider the potential role of countercyclical fiscal transfers as a tool of stabilization policy. Because Ricardian Equivalence no longer holds when planning horizons are finite (even when relatively long), we find that fiscal transfers can be a powerful tool to reduce the contractionary impact of an increased financial wedge during a crisis, and can even make possible complete stabilization of both aggregate output and inflation under certain circumstances, despite the binding lower bound on interest rates. However, the power of such policies depends on the degree of monetary policy accommodation. We also show that a higher level of welfare is generally possible if both monetary and fiscal authorities commit themselves to history-dependent policies in the period after the financial disturbance that causes the lower bound to bind has dissipated.
Abstract: Two strands of the literature suggest that PPI inflation, rather than CPI inflation, should be the targeting variable in a monetary policy rule. The distinction between these two rules would only be important if the two inflation indices do not co-move strongly. The first contribution of this paper is to document that the two inflation gauges did co-move strongly in the last century but the correlation has fallen substantially since the start of this century. The second contribution is to propose a structural explanation for this divergence based on the lengthening of world production chains since 2000. This theory implies that the decline in the correlation is likely to be permanent and a rethinking of the monetary policy rules has become more important. Our multi-stage multi-country production model has additional predictions on the behavior of CPI and PPI inflation beyond a fallen correlation, and these predictions are also confirmed in the data.
Work in Progress
"Monetary Policy and the Maturity of Corporate Debt."