Is Monetary Policy Aging?
Published: March 2021
This article proposes a framework to quantify the magnitude of monetary stimulus offered during a recession. We estimate that, over the past 30 years, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) offered larger incentives and for a longer duration during a recession than in the past cycle. Furthermore, each recession drained the FOMC’s resources and left the Committee with ‘less ammunition’ to fight the next recession. Therefore, our work suggests that monetary policy is aging. To de-age monetary policy, we propose 4% as a long-term target for the nominal FFR. Some of the major benefits of our proposed framework include: helping market participants gauge magnitude of accommodation; anchoring market participants’ expectations; reduce time spent at the zero lower bound; lessen dependence on balance sheet expansion; ensure that the real federal funds target rate will be positive when the FOMC meets its interest rate and inflation targets.