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Do inflation targeting central banks behave asymmetrically? Evidence from Australia and New Zealand

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This paper tests the standard quadratic approximation to central bank preferences on data from Australia and New Zealand, two of the earliest explicit inflation targeting countries. The standard linear-quadratic monetary policy model assumes central bank preferences over key macroeconomic variables, such as inflation and output, can be usefully approximated by a quadratic function. This approximation implies that a deviation from a target is considered to be equally costly irrespective of whether the deviation is positive or negative. Combined with a linear model of the economy, quadratic preferences are useful because they yield a first order condition that implies a linear interest rate reaction function. This paper relaxes the assumption of quadratic preferences by allowing central banks to regard the costs associated with positive and negative output gaps differently. Our models also test for the possibility that positive and negative deviations of inflation from target to be treated differently. During the inflation targeting period in both countries, evidence suggests that we cannot reject quadratic preferences over inflation deviations (from target). We cannot reject that New Zealand's preferences regarding deviations of output from trend are quadratic, but Australia's behaviour does not appear to be consistent with quadratic preferences. Instead, the preferences of the Reserve Bank of Australia appear to be more accurately modelled with an asymmetric loss such that the Reserve Bank of Australia views negative output gaps as more costly than positive output gaps.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of New Zealand in its series Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series with number DP 2004/02.

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Length: 28p
Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbdps:2004/02

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  1. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1997. "Does Inflation “Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market”?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 71-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jagjit Chadha & Philip Schellekens, 1999. "Monetary policy loss functions: two cheers for the quadratic," Bank of England working papers 101, Bank of England.
  4. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J, 2003. " Inflation Targeting under Asymmetric Preferences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 763-85, October.
  9. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  10. Aaron Drew & L Christopher Plantier, 2000. "Interest rate smoothing in New Zealand and other dollar bloc countries," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2000/10, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  11. Seamus Hogan, 1997. "What Does Downward Nominal-Wage Rigidity Imply for Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 97-13, Bank of Canada.
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  13. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 1999. "Inflation zone targeting," Working Paper Series 0008, European Central Bank.
  14. Cukierman, Alex & Gerlach, Stefan, 2003. "The Inflation Bias Revisited: Theory and Some International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Philip Lowe & Luci Ellis, 1997. "The Smoothing of Official Interest Rates," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Philip Lowe (ed.), Monetary Policy and Inflation Targeting Reserve Bank of Australia.
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  18. repec:cup:etheor:v:9:y:1993:i:2:p:222-40 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. repec:ant:wpaper:1999002 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. repec:ltr:wpaper:2005.02 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Doyle, Matthew & Falk, Barry, 2010. "Do asymmetric central bank preferences help explain observed inflation outcomes?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 527-540, June.
  3. Manuel M F Martins & Alvaro Aguiar, 2005. "Testing for Asymmetries in the Preferences of the Euro-Area Monetary Policymaker," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 41, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  4. Shawn Chen-Yu Leu & Jeffrey Sheen, 2005. "Asymmetric Monetary Policy in Australia," Working Papers 2005.02, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  5. Philip Liu, 2004. "Improving implementation of inflation targeting in New Zealand: an investigation of the Reserve Bank's inflation errors," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP 2004/06, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  6. Cinzia Alcidi & Alessandro Flamini & Andrea Fracasso, 2011. "Policy Regime Changes, Judgment and Taylor rules in the Greenspan Era," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(309), pages 89-107, January.
  7. Fabián Gredig, 2007. "Asymmetric Monetary Policy Rules and the Achievement of the Inflation Target: The Case of Chile," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 451, Central Bank of Chile.

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