Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS)
Pandemic Recession Dynamics: The Role of Monetary Policy in Shifting a U-Shaped Recession to a V-Shaped Rebound
COVID-19 has depressed economic activity around the world. The initial contraction may be amplified by the limited space for conventional monetary policy actions to support recovery implied by the low level of nominal interest rates recently. Model simulations assuming an initial contraction in output of 10 percent suggest several policy lessons. Adverse effects of constrained monetary policy space are large, changing a V-shaped rebound into a deep U-shaped recession absent large-scale Quantitative Easing (QE). Additionally, the medium-term scarring on economic potential can be large, and mitigation of such effects involves persistently accommodative monetary policy to support investment and long-run productive capacity. The simulations also illustrate the importance of coordinating QE and interest rate policy. Finally, the simulations, conducted within a model developed prior to the pandemic, illustrate limitations in economists’ understanding of QE and the channels through which shocks like a pandemic affect medium-term economic performance.
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Keywords: Quantitative Easing, Effective Lower Bound, Unconventional Monetary Policy
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