Identification at the Zero Lower bound

Vol. 89, No. 6, p. 2855-2885

DOI: https://doi.org10.3982/ECTA17388


This article shows that the Zero Lower Bound (ZLB) on interest rates can be used to identify the causal effects of monetary policy. Identification depends on the extent to which the ZLB limits the efficacy of monetary policy. I develop a general econometric methodology for the identification and estimation of structural vector autoregressions (SVARs) with an occasionally binding constraint. The method provides a simple way to test the efficacy of unconventional policies, modelled via a `shadow rate'. I apply this method to U.S. monetary policy using a three-equation SVAR model of inflation, unemployment and the federal funds rate. I reject the null hypothesis that unconventional monetary policy has no effect at the ZLB, but find some evidence that it is not as effective as conventional monetary policy.


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