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Should Monetary Policy Respond Strongly to Output Gaps?

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  • Bennett T. McCallum

Abstract

Much recent monetary policy analysis has featured stochastic simulations with small structural macroeconomic models that include: a spending vs. saving ( IS') sector; a price-adjustment sector; and an interest rate policy rule. The first two are frequently specified so as to reflect optimizing behavior; policy may or may not be specified as optimizing depending on the study's objectives. Some leading issues concern modifications to simple quantitative optimizing models that are needed to generate realistic degrees of persistence in inflation and output-gap variables. A major policy issue is whether it is desirable for monetary policy to respond strongly to the output gap. The paper argues that the latter is unobservable and considers the implications of using a trend-type measure while the true concept is of a type more in keeping with basic theory. In such circumstances, highly undesirable consequences are likely to ensue if policy responds strongly to the measured gap.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8226.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
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Publication status: published as McCallum, Bennett T. "Should Monetary Policy Respond Strongly To Output Gaps?," American Economic Review, 2001, v91(2,May), 258-262.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8226

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  1. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1993. "Inflation persistence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Rudebusch , Glenn, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Seminar Papers 637, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
  4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 1998. "Performance of operational policy rules in an estimated semi-classical structural model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  6. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  7. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  8. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "Interest-Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Working Papers 6618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wallace, Neil, 2000. "Comment on Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 931-35, November.
  10. Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1996. "Inflation targeting in a St. Louis model of the 21st century," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 83-107.
  11. Christiano, Lawrence J, 2000. "Comment on Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 905-30, November.
  12. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
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