Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.

Monetary Policy According to HANK

January 2016
Greg Kaplan, Benjamin Moll, Giovanni L. Violante

We revisit the transmission mechanism of monetary policy for household consumption in a Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian (HANK) model. The model yields empirically realistic distributions of household wealth and marginal propensities to consume because of two key features: multiple assets with different degrees of liquidity and an idiosyncratic income process with leptokurtic income changes. In this environment, the indirect effects of an unexpected cut in interest rates, which operate through a general equilibrium increase in labor demand, far outweigh direct effects such as intertemporal substitution. This finding is in stark contrast to small- and medium-scale Representative Agent New Keynesian (RANK) economies, where intertemporal substitution drives virtually all of the transmission from interest rates to consumption.