Working Papers

2021-18 | July 2021

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From Deviations to Shortfalls: The Effects of the FOMC's New Employment Objective

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The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) recently revised its interpretation of its maximum employment mandate. In this paper, we analyze the possible effects of this policy change using a theoretical model with frictional labor markets and nominal rigidities. A monetary policy which stabilizes “shortfalls” rather than “deviations” of employment from its maximum level leads to higher inflation and more hiring at all times due to expectations of more accommodative future policy. Thus, offsetting only shortfalls of employment results in higher nominal policy rates on average which provide more policy space and better outcomes during a zero lower bound episode. Our model suggests that the FOMC's reinterpretation of its employment mandate could alter the business-cycle and longer-run properties of the economy and result in a steeper reduced-form Phillips curve.

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Article Citation

Bundick, Brent, and Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau. 2021. "From Deviations to Shortfalls: The Effects of the FOMC's New Employment Objective," Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2021-18. Available at https://doi.org/10.24148/wp2021-18