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Should Monetary Policy Respond Strongly to Output Gaps?

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  • Bennett T. McCallum

Abstract

Much recent monetary policy analysis has featured stochastic simulations with small structural macroeconomic models that include: a spending vs. saving ( IS') sector; a price-adjustment sector; and an interest rate policy rule. The first two are frequently specified so as to reflect optimizing behavior; policy may or may not be specified as optimizing depending on the study's objectives. Some leading issues concern modifications to simple quantitative optimizing models that are needed to generate realistic degrees of persistence in inflation and output-gap variables. A major policy issue is whether it is desirable for monetary policy to respond strongly to the output gap. The paper argues that the latter is unobservable and considers the implications of using a trend-type measure while the true concept is of a type more in keeping with basic theory. In such circumstances, highly undesirable consequences are likely to ensue if policy responds strongly to the measured gap.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 91 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 258-262

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:2:p:258-262

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.2.258
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  1. Christiano, Lawrence J, 2000. "Comment on Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 905-30, November.
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  6. Wallace, Neil, 2000. "Comment on Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 931-35, November.
  7. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1993. "Inflation persistence," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2000. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Working Paper Series 0015, European Central Bank.
  10. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  11. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
  12. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
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