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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Working Paper Series
Robust monetary policy with competing reference models
Andrew T. Levin
John C. Williams
Abstract

The literature on robust monetary policy rules has largely focused on the case in which the policymaker has a single reference model while the true economy lies within a specified neighborhood of the reference model. In this paper, we show that such rules may perform very poorly in the more general case in which non-nested models represent competing perspectives about controversial issues such as expectations formation and inflation persistence. Using Bayesian and minimax strategies, we then consider whether any simple rule can provide robust performance across such divergent representations of the economy. We find that a robust outcome is attainable only in cases where the objective function places substantial weight on stabilizing both output and inflation; in contrast, we are unable to find a robust policy rule when the sole policy objective is to stabilize inflation. We analyze these results using a new diagnostic approach, namely, by quantifying the fault tolerance of each model economy with respect to deviations from optimal policy.


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Andrew T. Levin & John C. Williams, Robust monetary policy with competing reference models, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Working Paper Series 2003-10, 2003.
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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Econometric models ; Inflation (Finance)
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