Activist vs. non-activist monetary policy: optimal rules under extreme uncertainty
AbstractThis paper analyzes the optimality of reactive feedback rules advocated by neo-Keynesians, and constant money growth rules proposed by monetarists. The basis for this controversy is not merely a disagreement concerning sources and impacts of uncertainty in the economy, but also an apparent fundamental difference in the attitude toward uncertainty about models. To address these differences, this paper compares the relative reactiveness of a monetary policy instrument to conditioning information for two starkly differing versions of model uncertainty about the model and the data driving it: Bayesian uncertainty that assumes known probability distributions for a model's parameters and the data Knightian uncertainty that does not. In the latter case, the policy maker copes with extreme uncertainty by playing a mental game against "natuare," using minmax strategies. Contrary to common intuition, extreme uncertainty about a model's parameters does not necessarily imply less responsiveness to conditioning information--here represented by the lagged gap between nominal income growth and its trend--and it certainly does not justify constancy of money growth except in an extreme version of Brainard's (1967) result. A partial constant growth rule can be derived in only one special case: if the conditioning variable in the feedback rule is also uncertain in either Bayesian or Knightian senses and the authority used Neyman-Pearson likelihood ratio tests to distinguish noise from information with each new observation.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2001-02.
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Craine, Roger & Havenner, Arthur & Berry, James, 1978. "Fixed Rules vs. Activism in the Conduct of Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 769-83, December.
- Franco Modigliani, 1977.
"The monetarist controversy; or, should we forsake stabilization policies?,"
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Spr suppl, pages 27-46.
- Modigliani, Franco, 1977. "The Monetarist Controversy or, Should We Forsake Stabilization Policies?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 1-19, March.
- P. Tinsley & P. von zur Muehlen, 1982.
"A maximum probability approach to short-run policy,"
Special Studies Papers
168, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Tinsley, P. & Von Zur Muehlen, P., 1981. "A maximum probability approach to short-run policy," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 31-48, January.
- 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.
- Howitt, Peter W, 1981. "Activist Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 249-69, April.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1976.
"The Theory of Domestic Inflation,"
250, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- P.A.V.B. Swamy & J.R. Barth & P.A. Tinsley, 1980.
"The rational expectations approach to economic modelling,"
Special Studies Papers
143, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Swamy, P. A. V. B. & Barth, J. R. & Tinsley, P. A., 1982. "The rational expectations approach to economic modelling," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 125-147, November.
- Milton Friedman, 1971.
"A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis,"
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie71-1, October.
- Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
- Buiter, Willem H, 1981.
"The Superiority of Contingent Rules over Fixed Rules in Models with Rational Expectations,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(363), pages 647-70, September.
- Willem H. Buiter, 1981. "The Superiority of Contingent Rules over Fixed Rules in Models with Rational Expectations," NBER Technical Working Papers 0009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, Robert J., 1976. "Rational expectations and the role of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, January.
- J.H. Kalchbrenner & P.A. Tinsley, 1976. "On the use of optimal control in the design of monetary policy," Special Studies Papers 76, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- 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.
- Taylor, John B, 1975. "Monetary Policy during a Transition to Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1009-21, October.
- Craine, Roger, 1979. "Optimal monetary policy with uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-83, February.
- Herschel I. Grossman, 1980. "Rational Expectations, Business Cycles, and Government Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: Rational Expectations and Economic Policy, pages 5-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Swamy, P. A. V. B. & Tinsley, P. A., 1980.
"Linear prediction and estimation methods for regression models with stationary stochastic coefficients,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 103-142, February.
- P.A.V.B. Swamy & P.A. Tinsley, 1976. "Linear prediction and estimation methods for regression models with stationary stochastic coefficients," Special Studies Papers 78, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.