NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Daily Monetary Policy Shocks and the Delayed Response of New Home Sales

James D. Hamilton

NBER Working Paper No. 14223
Issued in August 2008
NBER Program(s):   EFG   ME

This paper offers an explication of the hump-shaped response of real economic activity to changes in monetary policy, focusing on the particular channel operating through new home sales. I suggest that the conventional notion of a monetary policy shock as a surprise change in the fed funds rate is misspecified. The primary news for market participants is not what the Fed just did, but is instead new information about what the Fed is going to do in the near future. Revisions in these anticipations show up instantaneously in long-term mortgage rates. Although mortgage rates respond well before the Fed actually changes its target rate, home sales do not respond until much later. The paper attributes this delay to cross-sectional heterogeneity in search times. This framework offers a description of the lags in the effects of monetary policy that is both more detailed, allowing us in principle to measure the consequences at the daily frequency, and more believable than traditional measures.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14223

Published: Hamilton, James D., 2008. "Daily monetary policy shocks and new home sales," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 1171-1190, October.

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