Welfare Implications of Asset Pricing Facts: Should Central Banks Fill Gaps or Remove Volatility?
More than 20 years of financial market data suggest a term structure of the welfare cost of economic uncertainty that is downward-sloping on average, especially during downturns. This evidence offers guidance in selecting a model to study the benefits of macroeconomic stabilization from a structural perspective. The addition of nonlinear external habit formation to a textbook monetary model can rationalize the evidence. The model is observationally equivalent in its quantity implications to a standard New Keynesian model with CRRA utility, but the optimal policy prescription is overturned. In the model the central bank should prioritize removing consumption volatility (a targeting of risk premia) over filling the gap between consumption and its flexible-price counterpart (inflation targeting).
Keywords: Welfare cost of business cycles, Macroeconomic priorities, Equity and bond yields, Optimal monetary policy, Financial stability.
JEL codes: E32; E44; E61; G12.
Suggested citation: Lopez, Pierlauro. 2021. “Welfare Implications of Asset Pricing Facts: Should Central Banks Fill Gaps or Remove Volatility?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 21-16. https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-202116.