Are negative supply shocks expansionary at the zero lower bound?

In a new paper, Johannes Wieland reports (pdf):

 Standard sticky-price models predict that temporary, negative supply shocks are expansionary at the zero lower bound (ZLB) because they raise inflation expectations and lower expected real interest rates, which stimulates consumption. This paper tests that prediction with oil supply shocks, an earthquake, and inflation risk premia, demonstrating that negative supply shocks are contractionary at the ZLB despite also lowering expected real interest rates. These findings are rationalized in a model with financial frictions, where negative supply shocks reduce asset prices and net worth, translating into larger borrowing spreads so that consumption contracts. In this data-consistent model fiscal stimulus at the ZLB is substantially less effective than in standard sticky-price models.

This accords both with common sense and recent experience.

For the pointer I thank Karl Smith.


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