The Effects of Monetary Policy on Unemployment Dynamics under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from the United States and the Euro Area


  • We are particularly grateful to Ken West (the editor) and two anonymous referees for extensive comments that substantially improved content and exposition of the paper. We would also like to thank Efrem Castelnuovo, Mark Giannoni, Gert Peersman, Frank Smets, and the participants at the CESifo Area Conference on Macro, Money, and International Finance, Munich; the 3rd Piero Moncasca Workshop, Rome; and the Italian Congress of Econometrics and Empirical Economics, Ancona, for comments and suggestions. Part of the paper was written while the first author was visiting Columbia Business School, whose hospitality is gratefully acknowledged. This paper should not be reported as representing the views of the European Central Bank (ECB), or ECB policy. Remaining errors are our own responsibility.


This paper explores the role that the imperfect knowledge of the structure of the economy plays in the uncertainty surrounding the effects of rule-based monetary policy on unemployment dynamics in the euro area and the United States. We employ a Bayesian model averaging procedure on a wide range of models which differ in several dimensions to account for the uncertainty that the policymaker faces when setting the monetary policy and evaluating its effect on real economy. We find evidence of a high degree of dispersion across models in both policy rule parameters and impulse response functions. Moreover, monetary policy shocks have very similar recessionary effects on the two economies with a different role played by the participation rate in the transmission mechanism. Finally, we show that a policymaker who does not take model uncertainty into account and selects the results on the basis of a single model may come to misleading conclusions not only about the transmission mechanism, but also about the differences between the euro area and the United States, which are on average essentially small.