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Measuring monetary policy

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  • Ben S. Bernanke
  • Ilian Mihov

Abstract

Extending the approach of Bernanke and Blinder (1992), Strongin (1992), and Christano, Eichenbaum, and Evans (1994a, 1994b), we develop and apply a VAR-based methodology for measuring the stance of monetary policy. More specifically, we develop a "demi-structural" VAR approach, which extracts information about monetary policy from data on bank reserves and the federal funds rate but leaves the relationships among the macroeconomic variables in the system unrestricted. The methodology can be used to compare and evaluate existing indicators of monetary policy and also to develop an "optimal" measure (given our framework). Among existing approaches, we find that innovations to the federal funds rate (Bernanke-Blinder) are a good measure of policy innovations during the periods 1965-1979 and 1988-1994; for the period 1979-1994 as a whole, innovations to the orthogonalized component of nonborrowed reserve (Strongin) seems to be the best choice. The new measure of policy stance that we develop conforms well to qualitative indicators of policy such as the Boschen-Mills (1991) index; and innovations to our measure lead to reasonable and precisely estimated dynamic responses by variables such as real GDP and the GDP deflator.

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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 95-09.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Publication status: Published in Conference on Monetary Policy in a Changing Financial Environment ; Quarterly Journal of Economics (August 1998, v. 113, no. 3, p869-902)
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfap:95-09

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Keywords: Vector autoregression ; Monetary policy - United States ; Interest rates;

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References

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  1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Mark W. Watson, 1986. "Are Business Cycles All Alike?," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 123-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1994. "Identification and the effects of monetary policy shocks," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Chow, Gregory C & Lin, An-loh, 1971. "Best Linear Unbiased Interpolation, Distribution, and Extrapolation of Time Series by Related Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 372-75, November.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke, 1990. "On the predictive power of interest rates and interest rate spreads," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 51-68.
  5. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-21, September.
  6. Ben S. Bernanke, 1986. "Alternative Explanations of the Money-Income Correlation," NBER Working Papers 1842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles, 1996. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Evidence from the Flow of Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 16-34, February.
  8. Allan D. Brunner, 1994. "The federal funds rate and the implementation of monetary policy: estimating the Federal Reserve's reaction function," International Finance Discussion Papers 466, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1991. "Identification and the Liquidity Effect of a Monetary Policy Shock," NBER Working Papers 3920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 1994. "The Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks: Some Evidence from the Flow of Funds," NBER Working Papers 4699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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