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Robust estimation and monetary policy with unobserved structural change

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  • John C. Williams

Abstract

This paper considers the monetary policymaker’s joint problem of model estimation and the design of a policy rule in the face of uncertainty regarding the process of structural change in the economy. Unobserved structural change is modeled through time variation in the natural rates of interest and unemployment. I show that certainty-equivalent optimal policies perform poorly when there is uncertainty about the natural rate processes. I then examine the properties of combined estimation methods and policy rules that are robust to this type of model uncertainty. I find that weighted sample means are robust estimators of natural rates for the purpose of setting policy. The optimal policy under uncertainty incorporates a significant degree of policy inertia and a muted response to the perceived unemployment gap; by comparison, the certainty-equivalent optimized policy in this model exhibits little policy inertia and a more aggressive response to the unemployment gap.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2004-11.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2004-11

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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Econometric models;

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References

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  1. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the natural rate of interest," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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Cited by:
  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation targeting under imperfect knowledge," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2007. "Robust monetary policy with imperfect knowledge," Working Paper Series 0764, European Central Bank.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy with imperfect knowledge," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Richard A. Ashley. & Randall J. Verbrugge., 2006. "Mis-Specification and Frequency Dependence in a New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Working Papers e06-12, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Ippei Fujiwara, Naoko Hara, Naohisa Hirakata, Takeshi Kimura, and Shinichiro Watanabe, 2007. "Japanese Monetary Policy during the Collapse of the Bubble Economy: A View of Policymaking under Uncertainty," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 25(2), pages 89-128, November.
  6. Richard A. Ashley & Randall J. Verbrugge., 2006. "Mis-Specification in Phillips Curve Regressions: Quantifying Frequency Dependence in This Relationship While Allowing for Feedback," Working Papers e06-11, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.

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