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RWP 16-02, January 2016; Revised June 2019

We examine the macroeconomic effects of forward guidance shocks at the zero lower bound. Empirically, we identify forward guidance shocks using unexpected changes in futures contracts around monetary policy announcements. We then embed these policy shocks in a vector autoregression to trace out their macroeconomic implications. Forward guidance shocks that lower expected future policy rates lead to moderate increases in economic activity and inflation. After examining forward guidance shocks in the data, we show that a standard model of nominal price rigidity can reproduce our empirical findings. To estimate our theoretical model, we generate a model-implied futures curve which closely links our model with the data. Our results suggest no disconnect between the empirical effects of forward guidance shocks around policy announcements and the predictions from a standard theoretical model.

JEL Classification: E32, E52

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Brent Bundick

Sr. Research and Policy Advisor

Brent Bundick is a Senior Research and Policy Advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He rejoined the Department in 2014 after com…

A. Lee Smith

Vice President and Economist

Andrew Lee Smith is a Vice President and Economist in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Prior to joining the department in 2014, Mr. Sm…