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The pitfalls of monetary discretion

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  • Aubhik Khan
  • Robert G. King
  • Alexander L. Wolman

Abstract

In a canonical staggered pricing model, monetary discretion leads to multiple private sector equilibria. The basis for multiplicity is a form of policy complementarity. Specifically, prices set in the current period embed expectations about future policy, and actual future policy responds to these same prices. For a range of values of the fundamental state variable — a ratio of predetermined prices — there is complementarity between actual and expected policy, and multiple equilibria occur. Moreover, this multiplicity is not associated with reputational considerations: it occurs in a two-period model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 01-08.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:01-08

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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Prices ; Equilibrium (Economics);

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References

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  1. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Krusell, Per & Smith Jr., Anthony A, 2001. "Consumption-Savings Decisions with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," CEPR Discussion Papers 2651, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Woodford, Michael, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy Inertia," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(0), pages 1-35, Supplemen.
  4. Currie,David & Levine,Paul, 1993. "Rules, Reputation and Macroeconomic Policy Coordination," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521441964, April.
  5. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1996. "Expectations, traps and discretion," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Robert King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "What Should the Monetary Authority Do When Prices Are Sticky?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 349-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2002. "Optimal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Svensson, Lars E O & Woodford, Michael, 2004. "Implementing Optimal Policy Through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," CEPR Discussion Papers 4229, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  10. Gianluca Benigno & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2003. "Price Stability in Open Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 743-764, October.
  11. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1996. "Sticky Price Models of the Business Cycle: Can the Contract Multiplier Solve the Persistence Problem?," NBER Working Papers 5809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Woodford, Michael, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," CFS Working Paper Series 1999/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  13. Ireland, Peter N., 1997. "Sustainable monetary policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 87-108, November.
  14. Huberto Ennis & Todd Keister, 2001. "Optimal policy with probabilistic equilibrium selection," Working Paper 01-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  15. 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.
  16. Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "Sticky prices, marginal cost, and the behavior of inflation," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 29-48.
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Cited by:
  1. Stefania Albanesi & V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2003. "Expectation Traps and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 715-741, October.
  2. Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2004. "Monetary Discretion, Pricing Complementarity, and Dynamic Multiple Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1513-1553, November.
  3. Armenter, Roc & Bodenstein, Martin, 2008. "Can The U.S. Monetary Policy Fall (Again) In An Expectation Trap?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(05), pages 664-693, November.
  4. Roc Armenter & Martin Bodenstein, 2005. "Can U.S. monetary policy fall (again) into an expectation trap?," Staff Reports 229, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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