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Optimal policy with limited commitment

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  • Kenneth Kasa

Abstract

This paper uses Whiteman's(1986) frequency-domain optimization methodology to parameterize the precommitment period in a standard rational expectations policy design model. This allows researchers to adopt an empirical approach to the time consistency issue. That is, the operative commitment horizon in a given policy setting can be estimated along with the other parameters characterizing the preferences and constraints of the agents in the model. It is shown that the commitment horizon can be estimated by running (restricted) regressions of the policymaker's instrument variable on past values of its target variable. ; Parameterizing the commitment horizon also delivers a mapping between welfare (or the value of the policymaker's objective function) and the length of the commitment horizon. The paper shows that the rate of convergence to the perfect precommitment value can be either quite slow or quite rapid, suggesting that the severity of the time consistency constraint can be sensitive to variation in the assumed commitment horizon. ; Finally, the results are applied to U.S. and German monetary policy during the post-Bretton Woods era. Assuming the monetary authority attempts to stabilize inflation using a Federal Funds like interest rate as an instrument, the results point to a one-month ahead commitment horizon for the U.S. Federal Reserve, and to a twelve-month ahead commitment horizon for the German Bundesbank. However, these horizons are estimated very imprecisely.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory with number 94-16.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfap:94-16

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Keywords: Monetary policy - United States ; Germany ; Banks and banking; Central ; Monetary policy ; Inflation (Finance);

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References

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  1. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
  2. Taub, Bart, 1986. "Asymptotic Properties of Pipeline Control of the Money Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(3), pages 647-65, October.
  3. William Roberds, 1986. "Models of policy under stochastic replanning," Staff Report 104, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  6. Roberto Chang, 1996. "Credible monetary policy with long-lived agents: recursive approaches," Working Paper 96-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. Lawrence J. Christiano., 1985. "A method for estimating the timing interval in a linear econometric model, with an application to Taylor's model of staggered contracts," Staff Report 101, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Reinganum, Jennifer F & Stokey, Nancy L, 1985. "Oligopoly Extraction of a Common Property Natural Resource: The Importance of the Period of Commitment in Dynamic Games," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(1), pages 161-73, February.
  9. Whiteman, Charles H, 1986. "An Analytical Policy Design under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1387-1405, November.
  10. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Working Papers 127, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
  12. Sargent, Thomas J, 1984. "Autoregressions, Expectations, and Advice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 408-15, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Kenneth Kasa, 1999. "Model uncertainty, robust policies, and the value of commitment," Working Paper Series 99-14, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

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