Working Paper

If exchange rates are random walks then almost everything we say about monetary policy is wrong


Abstract: The key question asked by standard monetary models used for policy analysis is how do changes in short term interest rates affect the economy. All of the standard models imply that such changes in interest rates affect the economy by altering the conditional means of the macroeconomic aggregates and have no effect on the conditional variances of these aggregates. We argue that the data on exchange rates imply nearly the opposite: fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in conditional variances and nearly no changes in conditional means. In this sense standard monetary models capture essentially none of what is going on in the data. We thus argue that almost everything we say about monetary policy using these models is wrong.

Keywords: Foreign exchange; Monetary policy;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2007

Number: 650