Disciplined discretion: the German and Swiss monetary targeting frameworks in operation
Many observers have held up the records of price stability in Germany and in Switzerland as examples of the benefits of a monetary targeting regime. These claims have been juxtaposed in recent years with econometric analyses of Bundesbank policy which have shown an absence of dependable relationship between money growth, inflation, and policy movements. We offer an analysis of actual Bundesbank and Swiss National Bank monetary policy as it operated which explains this puzzling gap between performance and presumed policy. We confirm that neither country is a monetary targeter according to a ...
Some comparative evidence on the effectiveness of inflation targeting
Does the adoption of an inflation target by a country have an effect on that country's rate of inflation and on inflation's interaction with real economic variables? Does inflation targeting alter private-sector expectations? The question of effectiveness must be posed as a counterfactual -did target adopting countries find economic benefits they would not have found had they not targeted? We offer three sets of measurements of the effect of inflation targeting: the first concerning whether the disinflation has been achieved at lower cost, or whether inflation has come down in targeters to a ...
Forecast-based monetary policy
A number of central banks use (published or unpublished) forecasts of goal variables as key ingredients in their decisions for instrument settings. This use of forecasts is modelled as a particular form of objective with the minimization of which the central bank is charged. We use an estimated optimization-based model with staggered price and wage setting to analyze the welfare properties of such objectives and their implications for the form of instrument rules. We find that stabilizing expected price inflation at a horizon of two years around target dominates policies of stabilizing ...
Measuring the NAIRU : evidence from seven economies
The role of forecasts in monetary policy
Forecasts of future economic developments play an important role for the monetary policy decisions of central banks. For example, forecasts of goal variables can help central banks achieve their goals and make them more accountable to the public. There are two primary explanations for the benefits of forecasts. The first is that monetary policy affects goal variables such as inflation and output only with substantial lags. Policy actions should, therefore, be based on forecasts of goal variables at horizons consistent with policy lags and be taken when these forecasts are inconsistent with ...
The value of interest rate smoothing : how the private sector helps the Federal Reserve
Most central banks conduct monetary policy by setting targets for overnight interest rates. During the 1990s, central banks have tended to move these interest rates in small steps without reversing direction quickly, a practice called interest rate smoothing. For example, the majority of Federal Reserve policy moves in the last decade and a half have come in a sequence of 25 basis point moves, in striking contrast to the early 1980s, when short-term interest rates fluctuated widely. In light of this historical contrast, it is natural to ask whether interest rate smoothing is a desirable way ...
Monetary policy in an estimated optimization-based model with sticky prices and wages
This paper serves two purposes. First, it provides estimates of an optimization-based equilibrium model with sticky prices and wages. Second, the estimated model is used to analyze the welfare properties of various interest rate rules for conducting monetary policy. As shown by Erceg et al. (1999), an important feature of this model is that it involves a tradeoff between the variances of price and wage inflation and the output gap. This tradeoff implies that it is desirable for the monetary authority to respond to more than inflation, output, and past interest rates when setting the current ...
Welfare-maximizing monetary policy under parameter uncertainty
This paper examines welfare-maximizing monetary policy in an estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy where the policymaker faces uncertainty about the true values of model parameters. Uncertainty about parameters describing preferences and technology implies not only uncertainty about the dynamics of the economy. In addition, it implies uncertainty about the model's utility-based welfare criterion and model dynamics but also uncertainty about the "natural" rate of output that the central bank should aim to achieve absent nominal rigidities and the ...
The responses of wages and prices to technology shocks
This paper reexamines wage and price dynamics in response to permanent shocks to productivity. We estimate a micro-founded dynamic general equilibrium (DGE) model of the U.S. economy with sticky wages and sticky prices using impulse responses to technology and monetary policy shocks. We utilize a flexible specification for wage- and price-setting that allows for the sluggish adjustment of both the levels of these variables as in standard contracting models as well as intrinsic inertia in wage and price inflation. On the price front, we find that in our VAR inflation jumps in response to an ...
Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest: International Trends and Determinants
U.S. estimates of the natural rate of interest?the real short-term interest rate that would prevail absent transitory disturbances?have declined dramatically since the start of the global financial crisis. For example, estimates using the Laubach-Williams (2003) model indicate the natural rate in the United States fell to close to zero during the crisis and has remained there through the end of 2015. Explanations for this decline include shifts in demographics, a slowdown in trend productivity growth, and global factors affecting real interest rates. This paper applies the Laubach-Williams ...