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Is inflation targeting best-practice monetary policy?

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  • Jon Faust
  • Dale W. Henderson

Abstract

We describe the inflation targeting framework (ITF) and compare it against hypothetical best-practice based on optimization. The core requirements of the ITF are an explicit long-run inflation goal and a commitment to transparency in policymaking. Advocates and practitioners of the ITF have made many contributions to clear goal setting and communication by central banks. However, we contend that ITF communication policies both as advocated and practiced often have some elements that either obfuscate or, in some cases, explicitly contradict the dictates of optimization in a stabilization-policy paradigm. In this paradigm, the central bank has an objective function that places weight on both inflation and output-gap stabilization and faces a conventional (exploitable) Phillips-curve trade-off. We point out some problems that the ITF communication policy may generate in this setting. Our analysis leads us to make four suggestions for communication policy intended to help central banks avoid these problems.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 807.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:807

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Keywords: Inflation (Finance) ; Monetary policy;

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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  2. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
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  4. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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  14. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Cheap Talk and the Fed: A Theory of Imprecise Policy Announcements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 32-42, March.
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  16. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  17. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Implementing Optimal Policy through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 19-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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