Discusses how committing to an inflation target has generally led to good outcomes for inflation and inflation expectations. Beyond inflation targeting, the question is whether there could be additional gains to the U.S. economy by adopting an alternative, such as nominal GDP targeting or price-level targeting.
“Allan Meltzer and the Search for a Nominal Anchor.” Speech, delivered at “Meltzer’s Contributions to Monetary Economics and Public Policy,” Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 4, 2018.
“Alternatives to Inflation Targeting.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Annual Report 2017.
“James Bullard Discusses Nominal GDP Targeting.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Timely Topics podcast, April 19, 2019. Related articles in Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Regional Economist, Second Quarter 2019, and On the Economy blog, May 16, 2019.
“Nominal GDP Targeting as ‘Optimal Monetary Policy for the Masses.’” Policy Panel, Strategies for Monetary Policy: A Policy Conference, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., May 3, 2019.
Discusses the possibility of U.S. yield curve inversion and suggests that, with inflation below the Fed’s 2 percent target, it is unnecessary to push monetary policy normalization to such an extent that the yield curve inverts. Such an inversion—whereby short-term interest rates exceed long-term interest rates—has helped predict recessions in the past.
"Assessing the Risk of Yield Curve Inversion." Presentation, Regional Economic Briefing, Little Rock, Ark., Dec. 1, 2017.
"Assessing the Risk of Yield Curve Inversion: An Update." Presentation, Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Breakfast, Glasgow, Ky., July 20, 2018.
"The Risk of Yield Curve Inversion—and How to Avoid It." Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Regional Economist, Third Quarter 2018.
The St. Louis Fed’s new characterization of the U.S. macroeconomic and monetary policy outlook more explicitly takes into account uncertainty about possible medium- and longer-run outcomes. The new approach is based on the idea that the economy may visit a set of possible regimes instead of converging to a single, long-run steady state. Examples of regimes include periods of no recession and recession, periods of low productivity growth and high productivity growth, and periods of low returns on government debt and high returns.
This new approach delivers a simple forecast of key macroeconomic variables over the next 2.5 years: real output growth of 2 percent, unemployment of 4.7 percent and inflation of 2 percent. Under this regime, the appropriate policy rate path would be 0.63 percent over the forecast horizon.
Regimes are generally viewed as persistent, and optimal monetary policy is viewed as regime-dependent. For the longer run, the new approach does not contain forecasts for macroeconomic variables or the policy rate, as predicting exactly how and when a regime will change is difficult.
"The St. Louis Fed's New Characterization of the Outlook for the U.S. Economy." Announcement, June 17, 2016.
"A New Characterization of the U.S. Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy Outlook." Speech, Society of Business Economists Annual Dinner, London, United Kingdom, June 30, 2016.
"New Characterization of Outlook." Interview with Bloomberg, July 1, 2016.
"A Tale of Two Narratives." Presentation, St. Louis Gateway Chapter of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), July 12, 2016.
Discussion with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari on U.S. Economy. Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, St. Louis, July 15, 2016.
"The Economy and Monetary Policy." Interview on Wharton Business Radio, August 12, 2016.
"Normalization: A New Approach." Presentation, Wealth and Asset Management Research Conference, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, August 17, 2016.
"One Equation to Understand the Current Monetary Policy Debate." Presentation, Association for University Business and Economic Research (AUBER), 2016 Fall Conference, Fayetteville, Ark., October 24, 2016.
"Safe Real Interest Rates and Fed Policy." Presentation, Commerce Bank 2016 Annual Economic Breakfast, St. Louis, Mo., November 10, 2016.
"U.S. Monetary Policy in the Aftermath of the U.S. Presidential Election." Presentation, UBS European Conference 2016, Monetary Policy after QE, London, United Kingdom, November 16, 2016.
"The Low Real Interest Rate Regime Post-Election: Is There a Switch?" Presentation, 53rd Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU, Phoenix, Ariz., December 5, 2016.
"Five Macroeconomic Questions for 2017." Presentation, Forecasters Club of New York, New York, N.Y., January 12, 2017.
"An Illustrative Calculation of r†." Presentation, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 22nd Annual Financial Markets Conference, Amelia Island, Fla., May 8, 2017.
"An Illustrative Calculation of r† with Policy Implications." Presentation. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Central Bank Forecasting Conference, St. Louis, Mo., November 9, 2017.
"Bullard on R-Star: The Natural Real Rate of Interest." Presentation. 34th Annual National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Economic Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., February 26, 2018.
Discusses some recent "neo-Fisherian" ideas and what they might mean for the G-7 monetary policy outlook over the medium and long term. The Fisher equation (nominal rate = real interest rate + expected inflation) is a key element of modern macroeconomic models. It implies that a low interest rate policy can determine a low inflation long-run equilibrium. Models, empirical evidence and consequences are discussed.
"Permazero in Europe?" Presentation, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
"Permazero as a Possible Medium-term Outcome for the U.S. and the G-7." Presentation, Philadelphia, Pa.
"Permazero." Speech, Washington, D.C.
Considers U.S. income, wealth, and consumption inequality through the lens of a standard life cycle framework, and argues that a large fraction (perhaps 75%) of observed inequality in income and wealth is benign, because credit markets work to translate these disparities into relatively smooth consumption over the life cycle. Three questions are posed and answered concerning the monetary policy impact on this process.
"Income Inequality and Monetary Policy: A Framework with Answers to Three Questions." C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
Reviews the existing economic literature on labor force participation in the U.S., and suggests that most movements in labor force participation can be explained with an appropriately rich empirical model emphasizing demographic factors. This suggests, in turn, that recent declines in the unemployment rate indicate genuine improvement in labor market conditions.
"The Rise and Fall of Labor Force Participation in the U.S." Speech, Washington, D.C.
Offers perspective on macroeconomic developments during 2008, stressing Fed easing during 2007-2008, unprecedented commodity price movements during the Spring of 2008, and real-time data indicating a modestly successful policy mitigating the financial crisis as of August 2008.
"The Notorious Summer of 2008." Presentation, Rogers, Arkansas.
Suggests that QE may be the best approach to monetary policy for the Euro-area when the policy rate is at zero and inflation is falling.
"Monetary Policy in a Low Rate Environment." Invited lecture, Frankfurt am Main, and invited lecture, London.
Cites research suggesting that "putting more weight" on unemployment when making monetary policy may be counterproductive.
"Some Unpleasant Implications for Unemployment Targeters." Presentation, New York.
Suggests the global consensus on central bank independence is weakening, and that the continued "fiscalization" of monetary policy will complicate monetary policy choices substantially in the future.
"The Global Battle Over Central Bank Independence." Presentation for AEA panel discussion, San Diego.
Cites research suggesting that the "shadow federal funds rate" may provide an important gauge of the stance of monetary policy when the policy rate is near zero.
"Shadow Interest Rates and the Stance of U.S. Monetary Policy." Presentation at Washington University in St. Louis.
Presents evidence that the Fed has behaved approximately like a price-level targeting central bank since the mid-1990s, and suggests that there would be little or nothing to gain from a switch to price level targeting or nominal GDP targeting.
"A Singular Achievement of Recent Monetary Policy." Invited lecture, Notre Dame.
"Price Level Targeting: The Fed Has It About Right." Presentation, Memphis.
Discusses a solution to the European sovereign debt crisis involving a grand bargain along the lines suggested by Thomas J. Sargent.
"The Global Economy and the European Sovereign Debt Crisis." Invited lecture, London.
Shows why achieving price stability can be viewed as completely consistent with achieving full employment in the context of a leading model of the macroeconomy with monetary policy.
"Hawks, Doves, Bubbles, and Inflation Targets." Invited lecture, Utah State University.
Discusses some recent literature on global output gaps and the relation to U.S. monetary policy.
"Global Output Gaps: Wave of the Future?" Presentation, Beijing.
Argues that it is unrealistic to think of U.S. potential output as a trend line from the Q4 2007 level of GDP, since that level of output was part of the housing bubble.
Argues that QE2 was quite effective in terms of the financial market signature associated with the implementation of the program.
Cites and evaluates recent New Keynesian literature to argue that stabilization policy conducted by the fiscal authority is unlikely to be effective.
"Death of a Theory." Speech, Chicago.
Argues that headline inflation provides the most appropriate metric for measuring inflation in the U.S., and that traditional arguments in favor of core inflation are much weaker than commonly appreciated.
"Measuring Inflation: The Core is Rotten." Speech, New York.
Cites research on liquidity traps to argue that promises to keep the policy rate at zero can be counterproductive, and argues that quantitative easing provides the best hope for avoiding the Japan-like deflationary steady state.
Suggests that the U.S. needs to upgrade its macroeconomic research program substantially.
"Research in Macroeconomics after the Crisis." Presentation, George Washington University.
Provides an overview of systemic risk in the context of the event of 2007-2008.
"Systemic Risk and the Financial Crisis: A Primer." Research paper.
Cites three popular ideas in macroeconomics on the decline due to the financial crisis, and one previously unpopular idea on the rise.
"Three Funerals and a Wedding." Speech, Evansville.