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Using Taylor Rules to Assess the Relative Activism of the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Board

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  • David Cobham

Abstract

This paper attempts to assess the relative activism of these three central banks, with reference to the debate on interest rate smoothing. It investigates smoothing in terms of the pattern of interest rate changes, and estimates a series of Taylor-type policy rules for each bank, using quarterly and monthly data, with ‘backward’ and ‘forward’-looking arguments, and with and without lagged dependent variables. It also examines the effect of introducing an auto-correlated error term. There is some (non-robust) evidence that the FRB is more activist, but it also seems to be more smooth; the ECB seems to adjust faster but less strongly in the long run; and the BoE’s behaviour is more difficult to identify. However, these standard policy rules are out of kilter with central banks’ own descriptions of what they do, while the long lags involved raise questions about the relevance of the Taylor principle as conventionally applied. It is therefore suggested that researchers should pay more attention to the institutional context of central banks’ behaviour, in order to produce better estimates of their policy rules which would in turn shed more light on the issues of activism and smoothing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis in its series CDMA Conference Paper Series with number 0602.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:san:cdmacp:0602

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Keywords: Monetary policy; activism; interest rate smoothing; central banks.;

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  1. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, June.
  2. Marvin Goodfriend, 1990. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond 90-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  3. Ben Martin & Chris Salmon, 1999. "Should uncertain monetary policy-makers do less?," Bank of England working papers 99, Bank of England.
  4. Gerlach, Stefan, 2004. "Interest Rate Setting by the ECB: Words and Deeds," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4775, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2006. "Monetary Policy Inertia: Fact or Fiction?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(4), December.
  6. Sack, Brian, 2000. "Does the fed act gradually? A VAR analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 229-256, August.
  7. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  8. 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.
  9. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-28, May.
  10. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?," International Review of Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 113-155, June.
  2. Canale, Rosaria Rita & Foresti, Pasquale & Marani, Ugo & Napolitano, Oreste, 2007. "On Keynesian effects of (apparent) non-Keynesian fiscal policies," MPRA Paper 3742, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2007.

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