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Learning and optimal monetary policy

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  • Richard Dennis
  • Federico Ravenna

Abstract

To conduct policy efficiently, central banks must use available data to infer, or learn, the relevant structural relationships in the economy. However, because a central bank's policy affects economic outcomes, the chosen policy may help or hinder its efforts to learn. This paper examines whether real-time learning allows a central bank to learn the economy's underlying structure and studies the impact that learning has on the performance of optimal policies under a variety of learning environments. Our main results are as follows. First, when monetary policy is formulated as an optimal discretionary targeting rule, we find that the rational expectations equilibrium and the optimal policy are real-time learnable. This result is robust to a range of assumptions concerning private sector learning behavior. Second, when policy is set with discretion, learning can lead to outcomes that are better than if the model parameters are known. Finally, if the private sector is learning, then unannounced changes to the policy regime, particularly changes to the inflation target, can raise policy loss considerably.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2007-19.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2007-19

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Keywords: Monetary policy;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Dennis, 2007. "Model uncertainty and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2007-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Brzoza-Brzezina, Michal & Kot, Adam, 2008. "The Relativity Theory Revisited: Is Publishing Interest Rate Forecasts Really so Valuable?," MPRA Paper 10296, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Ravenna, Federico, 2012. "Optimal monetary policy and model selection in a real-time learning environment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 322-325.
  4. Dennis, Richard, 2010. "How robustness can lower the cost of discretion," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 653-667, September.
  5. Dieppe, Alistair & Pandiella, Alberto González & Hall, Stephen & Willman, Alpo, 2013. "Limited information minimal state variable learning in a medium-scale multi-country model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 808-825.
  6. Bianchi, Francesco & Mumtaz, Haroon & Surico, Paolo, 2009. "The great moderation of the term structure of UK interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 856-871, September.
  7. Federico Ravenna, 2014. "How Central Banks Learn the True Model of the Economy," Cahiers de recherche 1409, CIRPEE.

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