Gauti Eggertsson, Alessandro Lin, Josef Platzer, Luca Riva, 14 March 2022

The Fed recently introduced an average inflation targeting framework, in which past inflation shortfalls shape current policy. This column assesses this policy relative to alternatives in the context of the Covid-19 recession and recovery. The authors calibrate a simple New Keynesian model at the zero lower bound to replicate the Fed’s policy, finding that the new framework substantially reduced the US output contraction by about 40%. Alternative policies would have reduced the contraction by even more. The results suggest that the Fed places some weight on output stabilisation alongside inflation.

Seppo Honkapohja, Nigel McClung, 29 April 2021

Recent challenges have generated interest in new monetary policy frameworks, including average inflation targeting. The Federal Reserve adopted this policy in 2020, but they have not communicated many details about the policy itself. This column argues that an opaque average inflation targeting policy can de-anchor inflation expectations from the target equilibrium – even if expectations are initially well-anchored. Policymakers should be cautious when implementing average inflation targeting.

Gavin Goy, Meilina Hoogland, Annelie Petersen, 15 March 2021

On the back of fiscal accommodation, a rebounding economy, and the Federal Reserve’s newfound tolerance for inflation overshoots, market-based inflation measures have surged, triggering concerns of an overheating of the US economy. By decomposing recent yield curve movements, this column shows that the steepening of the US Treasury curve corresponds with higher real term premia and a boost in both inflation expectations and the inflation risk premium. Lower real rate expectations suggest that markets do not yet expect the Fed to lean against the fiscal expansion. Simultaneously, the width of the distribution suggests that markets are relatively uncertain about the exact degree of overshooting the Fed will allow before stepping in. 

Gauti Eggertsson, Sergey Egiev, Alessandro Lin, Josef Platzer, Luca Riva, 21 October 2020

The Federal Reserve has recently announced a new policy strategy of average inflation targeting. The column argues that while this is unambiguously a positive step, it may not – under all circumstances – subscribe to a sufficiently aggressive make-up strategy when the zero lower bound is binding. This is particularly likely to be the case if episodes of high unemployment are not associated with material fall in inflation, a scenario that seems empirically relevant. The authors suggest alternatives that could do better, such as a targeting rule that treats the dual objective of the Federal Reserve in a symmetric way, or one that aims at minimising cumulative deviation of nominal GDP from trend.

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Edward S. Knotek II, Raphael Schoenle, 30 September 2020

On 27 August 2020, the Federal Reserve announced the adoption of a new strategy of ‘average inflation targeting’, which is to replace traditional inflation targeting. This column uses a daily survey of US households to study how this announcement affected inflation expectations. It finds a small uptick in the share of households reporting to have heard news about monetary policy on the day of the announcement, but hearing about the news did not appear to affect their expectations. Even providing households with information on average inflation targeting directly did not change expectations relative to households who received information on traditional inflation targeting.

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