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Abstract: Using Bayesian methods, we estimate a nonlinear DSGE model in which the interest-rate lower bound is occasionally binding. We quantify the size and nature of disturbances that pushed the U.S. economy to the lower bound in late 2008 as well as the contribution of the lower bound constraint to the resulting economic slump. Compared with the hypothetical situation in which monetary policy can act in an unconstrained fashion, our estimates imply that U.S. output was more than 1 percent lower, on average, over the 2009-2011 period. Moreover, around 20 percent of the drop in U.S. GDP during the recession of 2008-2009 was due to the interest-rate lower bound. We show that the estimated model generates lower bound episodes that resemble salient characteristics of the observed U.S. episode, including its expected duration.

Keywords: Zero lower bound, DSGE model, Bayesian estimation

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