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Does monetary policy keep up with the Joneses? Optimal interest-rate smoothing with consumption externalities

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  • Sanjay K. Chugh

Abstract

Changes in monetary policy are typically implemented gradually, an empirical observation known as interest-rate smoothing. We propose the explanation that time-non-separable preferences may render interest-rate smoothing optimal. We find that when consumers have "catching-up-with-the-Joneses" preferences, optimal monetary policy reacts gradually to shocks to prevent inefficiently fast adjustments in consumption. We also extend our basic model to investigate the effects of capital formation and nominal rigidities on the dynamics of optimal monetary policy. Optimal policy responses continue to be gradual in the presence of capital and sticky prices, with a size and speed that are in line with empirical findings for the U.S. economy. Our results emphasize that gradualism in monetary policy may be needed simply to guide the economy on an optimally smooth path.

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File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2004/812/default.htm
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File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2004/812/default.htm
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 812.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:812

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Related research

Keywords: Monetary policy ; Interest rates;

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Cited by:
  1. Sanjay Chugh, 2005. "Optimal inflation persistence: Ramsey taxation with capital and habits," International Finance Discussion Papers 829, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Juha Tervala, 2011. "Keeping Up with the Joneses and the Welfare Effects of Monetary Policy," Discussion Papers 65, Aboa Centre for Economics.

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