Creator: Chari, V. V., Christiano, Lawrence J., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 666 Abstract:
The United States is indisputably undergoing a financial crisis and is perhaps headed for a deep recession. Here we examine three claims about the way the financial crisis is affecting the economy as a whole and argue that all three claims are myths. We also present three underappreciated facts about how the financial system intermediates funds between households and corporate businesses. Conventional analyses of the financial crisis focus on interest rate spreads. We argue that such analyses may lead to mistaken inferences about the real costs of borrowing and argue that, during financial crises, variations in the levels of nominal interest rates might lead to better inferences about variations in the real costs of borrowing. Moreover, we argue that even if current increase in spreads indicate increases in the riskiness of the underlying projects, by itself, this increase does not necessarily indicate the need for massive government intervention. We call for policymakers to articulate the precise nature of the market failure they see, to present hard evidence that differentiates their view of the data from other views which would not require such intervention, and to share with the public the logic and evidence that burnishes the case that the particular intervention they are advocating will fix this market failure.
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 664 Abstract:
In the 1970s macroeconomists often disagreed bitterly. Macroeconomists have now largely converged on method, model design, and macroeconomic policy advice. The disagreements that remain all stem from the practical implementation of the methodology. Some macroeconomists think that New Keynesian models are on the verge of being useful for quarter-to-quarter quantitative policy advice. We do not. We argue that the shocks in these models are dubiously structural and show that many of the features of the model as well as the implications due to these features are inconsistent with microeconomic evidence. These arguments lead us to conclude that New Keynesian models are not yet useful for policy analysis.
Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 661 Abstract:
In the data, a large fraction of price changes are temporary. We provide a simple menu cost model which explicitly includes a motive for temporary price changes. We show that this simple model can account for the main regularities concerning temporary and permanent price changes. We use the model as a benchmark to evaluate existing shortcuts that do not explicitly model temporary price changes. One shortcut is to take the temporary changes out of the data and fit a simple Calvo model to it. If we do so prices change only every 50 weeks and the Calvo model overestimates the real effects of monetary shocks by almost 70%. A second shortcut is to leave the temporary changes in the data. If we do so prices change every 3 weeks and the Calvo model produces only 1/9 of the real effects of money as in our benchmark. We show that a simple Calvo model can generate the same real effects as our benchmark model if we set parameters so that prices change every 17 weeks.
Fach: E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Chari, V. V., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 659 Abstract:
The Ramsey approach to policy analysis finds the best competitive equilibrium given a set of available instruments. This approach is silent about unique implementation, namely designing policies so that the associated competitive equilibrium is unique. This silence is particularly problematic in monetary policy environments where many ways of specifying policy lead to indeterminacy. We show that sophisticated policies which depend on the history of private actions and which can differ on and off the equilibrium path can uniquely implement any desired competitive equilibrium. A large literature has argued that monetary policy should adhere to the Taylor principle to eliminate indeterminacy. Our findings say that adherence to the Taylor principle on these grounds is unnecessary. Finally, we show that sophisticated policies are robust to imperfect information.
Fach: E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 656 Abstract:
The classic explanation for the persistence and volatility of real exchange rates is that they are the result of nominal shocks in an economy with sticky goods prices. A key implication of this explanation is that if goods have differing degrees of price stickiness then relatively more sticky goods tend to have relatively more persistent and volatile good-level real exchange rates. Using panel data, we find only modest support for these key implications. The predictions of the theory for persistence have some modest support: in the data, the stickier is the price of a good the more persistent is its real exchange rate, but the theory predicts much more variation in persistence than is in the data. The predictions of the theory for volatility fare less well: in the data, the stickier is the price of a good the smaller is its conditional variance while in the theory the opposite holds. We show that allowing for pricing complementarities leads to a modest improvement in the theory’s predictions for persistence but little improvement in the theory’s predictions for conditional variances.
Fach: F00 - International Economics: General and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 654 Abstract:
Here we reply to Robert Solow’s comment on our work, Modern Macroeconomics in Practice: How Theory is Shaping Policy.
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 652 Abstract:
In the data, a sizable fraction of price changes are temporary price reductions referred to as sales. Existing models include no role for sales. Hence, when confronted with data in which a large fraction of price changes are sales related, the models must either exclude sales from the data or leave them in and implicitly treat sales like any other price change. When sales are included, prices change frequently and standard sticky price models with this high frequency of price changes predict small effects from money shocks. If sales are excluded, prices change much less frequently and a standard sticky price model with this low frequency of price changes predict much larger effects of money shocks. This paper adds a motive for sales in a parsimonious extension of existing sticky price models. We show that the model can account for most of the patterns of sales in the data. Using our model as the data generating process, we evaluate the existing approaches and find that neither well approximates the real effects of money in our economy in which sales are explicitly modeled.
Creator: Alvarez, Fernando, 1964-, Atkeson, Andrew, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 650 Abstract:
The key question asked by standard monetary models used for policy analysis is, How do changes in short-term interest rates affect the economy? All of the standard models imply that such changes in interest rates affect the economy by altering the conditional means of the macroeconomic aggregates and have no effect on the conditional variances of these aggregates. We argue that the data on exchange rates imply nearly the opposite: the observation that exchange rates are approximately random walks implies that fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in conditional variances and nearly no changes in conditional means. In this sense, standard monetary models capture essentially none of what is going on in the data. We thus argue that almost everything we say about monetary policy using these models is wrong.
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 647 Abstract:
We make three comparisons relevant for the business cycle accounting approach. We show that in theory representing the investment wedge as a tax on investment is equivalent to representing this wedge as a tax on capital income as long as the probability distributions over this wedge in the two representations are the same. In practice, convenience dictates that the underlying probability distributions over the investment wedge are different in the two representations. Even so, the quantitative results under the two representations are essentially identical. We also compare our methodology, the CKM methodology, to an alternative one used in Christiano and Davis (2006) as well as by us in early incarnations of the business cycle accounting approach. We argue that the CKM methodology rests on more secure theoretical foundations. Finally, we show that the results from the VAR-style decomposition of Christiano and Davis reinforce the results of the business cycle decomposition of CKM.