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Targeting vs. Instrument Rules for Monetary Policy

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  • Bennett T. McCallum
  • Edward Nelson

Abstract

Svensson (JEL, 2003) argues strongly that specific targeting rules first order optimality conditions for a specific objective function and model are normatively superior to instrument rules for the conduct of monetary policy. That argument is based largely upon four main objections to the latter plus a claim concerning the relative interest-instrument variability entailed by the two approaches. The present paper considers the four objections in turn, and advances arguments that contradict all of them. Then in the paper's analytical sections, it is demonstrated that the variability claim is incorrect, for a neo-canonical model and also for a variant with one-period-ahead plans used by Svensson, providing that the same decision-making errors are relevant under the two alternative approaches. Arguments relating to general targeting rules and actual central bank practice are also included.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10612.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Publication status: published as McCallum, Bennett T. and Edward Nelson. "Targeting Versus Instrument Rules For Monetary Policy," FRB St. Louis - Review, 2005, v87(5,Sep/Oct), 597-611.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10612

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  1. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," NBER Working Papers 6790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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