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The policy preferences of the U.S. Federal Reserve

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  • Richard Dennis

Abstract

This paper uses a small data-consistent model of the United States to identify and estimate the Federal Reserve's policy preferences. We find critical differences between the policy regimes in operation during the Burns-Miller and Volcker-Greenspan periods. Over the Volcker-Greenspan period we estimate the inflation target to be 2.0% and find that policymakers were willing to allow the real interest rate to change in order to keep overall changes in the nominal interest rate relatively small. In contrast, for the Burns-Miller period the inflation target is estimated to be 5.9%, and we find that policy makers were much more prepared to tolerate changes in the nominal interest rate than they were changes in the real interest rate. Consequently, over this period policymakers tended to accommodate movements in inflation. We find statistical evidence that a policy regime shift occurred with Volcker's appointment to Federal Reserve chairman.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2001-08.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2001-08

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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Federal Reserve System;

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References

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  1. Richard Dennis, 2003. "Inferring policy objectives from economic outcomes," Working Paper Series 2003-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Svensson, L-E-O, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting : Implementaing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," Papers 615, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Stochastic trends and economic fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Introduction to "Monetary Policy Rules"," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 6570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  8. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard Dennis, 2001. "Solving for Optimal Simple Rules in Rational Expectations Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 30, Society for Computational Economics.
  10. Bennett T. McCallum, 2005. "Monetary policy and the term structure of interest rates," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 1-21.
  11. Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton & Ann-Charlotte Eliasson, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 841, Society for Computational Economics.
  12. Rudebusch, G.D. & Svensson, L.E.O., 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Papers 637, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  13. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Working Papers 127, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. 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.
  15. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
  16. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1991. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 7-30, January.
  17. Soderlind, Paul, 1999. "Solution and estimation of RE macromodels with optimal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 813-823, April.
  18. John B. Taylor, 1998. "An Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  20. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Moore, George R, 1995. "Monetary Policy Trade-offs and the Correlation between Nominal Interest Rates and Real Output," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 219-39, March.
  21. Arturo Estrella & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2002. "Dynamic Inconsistencies: Counterfactual Implications of a Class of Rational-Expectations Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1013-1028, September.
  22. Alex Cukierman, 1989. "Why does the Fed smooth interest rates?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, pages 111-157.
  23. Salemi, Michael K, 1995. "Revealed Preference of the Federal Reserve: Using Inverse-Control Theory to Interpret the Policy Equation of a Vector Autoregression," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(4), pages 419-33, October.
  24. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Commentary : how should monetary policy be conducted in an era of price stability?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 277-316.
  25. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
  26. Brian Sack & Volker Wieland, 1999. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-39, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  27. Efrem Castelnuovo & Paolo Surico, 2004. "Model Uncertainty, Optimal Monetary Policy and the Preferences of the Fed," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(1), pages 105-126, 02.
  28. Ozlale, Umit, 2003. "Price stability vs. output stability: tales of federal reserve administrations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1595-1610, July.
  29. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, July.
  30. Favero, Carlo A & Rovelli, Riccardo, 2003. " Macroeconomic Stability and the Preferences of the Fed: A Formal Analysis, 1961-98," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 545-56, August.
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