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Theses Doctoral

Essays on Monetary and Fiscal Stabilization Policies

Xie, Yinxi

This dissertation is a collection of three essays on the monetary and fiscal stabilization policies. Grounded in the framework of the New Keynesian model, they combine both theoretical modeling and quantitative analysis, taking into account the considerations from behavioral macroeconomics and global supply chains.

Chapter 1 considers both short-term effects and long-run consequences of alternative monetary and fiscal policies under an assumption of bounded rationality. Most of the existing analyses of the interaction between monetary and fiscal policy in the monetary literature 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. By relaxing this problematic assumption regarding long-expectation, while keeping other parts as close as possible to the standard New Keynesian model, I take the approach of finite forward planning to study the interplay of fiscal transfer policies and monetary policy. In particular, this approach 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.

Chapter 2, co-authored with Michael Woodford, reconsiders several issues connected with stabilization policy, when the zero lower bound (ZLB) is a relevant constraint on the effectiveness of conventional monetary policy, under an assumption of bounded rationality. In particular, it assumes that decision makers only plan a finite distance into the future each time they must act, and use a value function from their past experiences to estimate a continuation value for their situation at the end of the planning horizon. Forward guidance regarding future monetary policy remains relevant, even if its predicted impact is quantitatively weaker, and in particular price-level targeting continues to have advantages over purely forward-looking inflation targeting during a ZLB scenario. Moreover, recognizing that planning horizons may be relatively short for some strengthens the case for systematic price-level targeting, as opposed to temporary price-level targeting only following a ZLB scenario. Fiscal transfers can be a powerful tool to reduce the contractionary impact of an increased financial wedge during a crisis, and even make possible complete stabilization of both aggregate output and inflation under certain circumstances, but 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 has dissipated.

Chapter 3, co-authored with Shang-Jin Wei, studies 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. Within the family of simple monetary policy rules with commitment, a rule that targets separate producer price inflation at different production stages, in addition to the output gap and real exchange rate, is found to deliver a higher welfare level than alternative policy rules. As an economy becomes more open, measured by the export share, the optimal weight on the upstream inflation rises relative to that on the final stage inflation. If we have to choose among aggregate price indicators, targeting PPI inflation yields a smaller welfare loss than targeting CPI inflation alone. As the production chain becomes longer, the optimal weight on PPI inflation in the policy rule that targets both PPI and CPI inflation will also rise. A trade cost shock such as a rise in the import tariff can alter the optimal weights on different inflation variables.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Economics
Thesis Advisors
Woodford, Michael
Wei, Shang-Jin
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 10, 2020