NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Monetary Policy, Bounded Rationality, and Incomplete Markets

Emmanuel Farhi, Iván Werning

NBER Working Paper No. 23281
Issued in March 2017, Revised in September 2017
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Monetary Economics

This paper extends the benchmark New-Keynesian model with a representative agent and rational expectations by introducing two key frictions: (1) agent heterogeneity with incomplete markets, uninsurable idiosyncratic risk, and occasionally-binding borrowing constraints; and (2) bounded rationality in the form of level-k thinking. Compared to the benchmark model, we show that the interaction of these two frictions leads to a powerful mitigation of the effects of monetary policy, which is much more pronounced at long horizons, and offers a potential rationalization of the “forward guidance puzzle”. Each of these frictions, in isolation, would lead to no or much smaller departures from the benchmark model. We conclude that the interaction of bounded rationality and market frictions improves the ability of the model to account for the effects of monetary policy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23281

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