[the] NGDP gap of −4.77 percent indicates that the dollar size of the economy is still significantly smaller than prepandemic expectations. Specifically, the neutral level of NGDP was $22.22 trillion in the third quarter of 2020, whereas actual NGDP came in at $21.16 trillion. That is a shortfall of $1.06 trillion, which is a vast improvement over the previous quarter’s shortfall of $2.57 trillion, but still a sizable hole to fill in the economy. This trillion-dollar hole means that both aggregate spending and income are still falling short of their prepandemic trend levels.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
I have a new article presenting my take on the Fed's new average inflation target (AIT). It includes an explanation of how it works compared to the Fed's previous inflation target and what it could mean for the recovery. I note that although AIT it is not quite a NGDP level target, it is a step in that direction. Moreover, it could lead other central banks to follow suit. Check it out.
Also, here is an earlier piece I wrote on make-up policy and how it could be best implemented via a NGDP level target. It was published before the big announcement last week.
Finally, here is St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard's take on AIT. He explains how this new framework gets us fairly close to NGDP level targeting.
Monday, August 10, 2020
Monday, July 6, 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Officials in the UK Treasury are “probably” considering whether to change the Bank of England’s inflation-targeting mandate due to the massive economic shock imparted by the coronavirus crisis, according to a former minister.
Lord Jim O’Neill, who was commercial secretary to the Treasury in 2015, wants the central bank to shift from its current target of keeping inflation at 2 per cent to targeting a steadily rising trend of nominal UK GDP growth instead.
Lord O’Neill conceded that the idea of moving to nominal GDP targeting would “scare” many people in the Treasury and the Bank who regard the current inflation-targeting regime as a proven success.
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Summary of the NGDP Gap
Extension I: Blue Chip Forecast Version
Extension II: Precision Version
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
The proposed government outlays can be best thought of as part of a mass mobilization for war, just like the country did for World War II. Back then, the war was against foreign powers, and we mobilized factories, machines and troops to fight a physical foe. Today, the war is against a virus or an “invisible enemy,” as President Donald Trump has described. We’re mobilizing our health care industry and the ability for people to stay home in order to fight.
This fight against the novel coronavirus, like World War II, is also a two-front war. The first front is the public health battle against the virus. The second front is saving the economy from a debilitating wave of bankruptcies and liquidations as businesses are shut down and workers are sent home. This lockdown amounts to an economically induced coma, and most of new government funding is a form of life support to make it through this ordeal.
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Both views have some merit. The decline of the 10-year treasury yield does create problems for the U.S. economy, but it has been happening for some time. There is nothing magical about crossing the 1% barrier, though it does brings closer the day of reckoning for the Fed's operating framework.
The decline of the 10-year treasury yield, if sustained, means the entire yield curve may soon run into its effective lower bound. This will render useless much of the Fed's toolbox. Fortunately, there is a fix for the Fed's operating framework that makes it robust to any interest rate environment. This fix, ironically, ties the Fed more closely to fiscal policy while making it more Monetarist in practice.
This post outlines the proposed fix, but first motivates it by explaining how the decline in the 10-year treasury yield creates problems for the U.S. economy.
One has to be careful interpreting the causality here, but I do further analysis in the policy brief and find shocks to the bond yields do influence domestic demand growth. The safe asset shortage, therefore, appears to be a drag on global aggregate demand growth. The first reason, then, why the decline in the 10-year treasury yield matters is that it portends weaker aggregate demand growth.
Now the Fed can add to its toolbox and indeed the Fed is exploring new tools--such as negative interest rates and yield curve control--under its big review of monetary policy. Even these tools, however, are limited since the declining 10-year treasury yield is compressing the yield curve.
The Fed's current toolbox, in short, is premised on a positive interest rate world that is slowing fading. The Fed, therefore, may soon face a day of reckoning for its current operating framework. That possibility and what the Fed could do in response is considered next.
The Fed needs, consequently, an operating framework that is robust to any interest rate environment and one that is capable of stabilizing aggregate demand growth. I have proposed a fix to the Fed's operating system that addresses these challenges in a forthcoming journal article. Here I want to briefly outline that proposal. It has three parts: (1) the Fed adopts a dual reaction function, (2) the Fed adopts a NGDP level target, and (3) the Fed is empowered with a standing fiscal facility for use at the ZLB. The three parts are explained below.
Here, in is the neutral interest rate, the NGDPGap is the percent difference between the forecasted level of NGDP and the NGDPLT for the period of t to t+h, Δb is the growth rate of the monetary base, Δx* is the target NGDP growth rate, and Δv is the expected growth rate in the velocity of the monetary base for the period of t to t+h.
Some commentators have speculated that the corona virus might be a shock that forces us out of our complacency and spawns many unintended innovations. To the extent this shock leads to ongoing declines in the treasury yields and exhausts the Fed current toolbox, it might also lead to innovations in U.S. monetary policy. Here's hoping it does along the lines suggested above.