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Targeting versus instrument rules for monetary policy

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  • Bennett T. McCallum
  • Edward Nelson

Abstract

Svensson (2003) argues strongly that specific targeting rules-first-order optimality conditions for a specific objective function and model-are normatively superior to instrument rules for the conduct of monetary policy. That argument is based largely on four main objections to the latter, plus a claim concerning the relative interest-instrument variability entailed by the two approaches. The present paper considers the four objections in turn and advances arguments that contradict all of them. Then, in the paper's analytical sections, it is demonstrated that the variability claim is incorrect, for a neo-canonical model and also for a variant with one-period-ahead plans used by Svensson, providing that the same decisionmaking errors are relevant under the two alternative approaches. Arguments relating to general targeting rules and actual central bank practice are also included.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): Sep ()
Pages: 597-612

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2005:i:sep:p:597-612:n:v.87no.5

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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Banks and banking; Central;

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References

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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dale W. Henderson & Warwick J. McKibbin, 1993. "A comparison of some basic monetary policy regimes for open economies: implications of different degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence," International Finance Discussion Papers 458, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  4. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2004. "Timeless perspective vs. discretionary monetary policy in forward-looking models," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 43-56.
  5. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  6. Bennett T McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2001. "Monetary Policy for an Open Economy: An Alternative Framework with Optimising Agents and Sticky Prices," Discussion Papers 05, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  7. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," Seminar Papers 646, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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