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Economic Projections and Rules-of-Thumb for Monetary Policy

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  • Athanasios Orphanides

    ()
    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • Volker Wieland

    ()
    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract

Monetary policy analysts often rely on rules-of-thumb, such as the Taylor rule, to describe historical monetary policy decisions and to compare current policy to historical norms. Analysis along these lines also permits evaluation of episodes where policy may have deviated from a simple rule and examination of reasons behind such deviations. One interesting question is whether such rules-of-thumb should draw on policymakers’ forecasts of key variables such as inflation and unemployment or on observed outcomes. Importantly, deviations of the policy from the prescriptions of a Taylor rule that rely on outcomes may be due to systematic responses to information captured in policymakers’ own projections. We investigate in the context of FOMC policy decisions over the past 20 years using publicly available FOMC projections from the biannual monetary policy reports to the Congress (Humphrey-Hawkins reports). Our results indicate that FOMC decisions can indeed be predominantly explained in terms of the FOMC's own projections rather than observed outcomes. Thus, a forecast-based rule-of-thumb better characterizes FOMC decision-making. We also confirm that many of the apparent deviations of the federal funds rate from an outcome-based Taylor-style rule may be considered systematic responses to information contained in FOMC projections.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-035.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-035

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Keywords: Monetary policy; forecasts; FOMC; policy rules;

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References

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  1. Aksoy, Yunus & Orphanides, Athanasios & Small, David & Wieland, Volker & Wilcox, David, 2003. "A Quantitative Exploration of the Opportunistic Approach to Disinflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4073, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wilcox, David W, 2002. "The Opportunistic Approach to Disinflation," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 47-71, Spring.
  3. Henderson, Dale W. & McKibbin, Warwick J., 1993. "A comparison of some basic monetary policy regimes for open economies: implications of different degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 221-317, December.
  4. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  5. William Poole, 2007. "Understanding the Fed," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 3-14.
  6. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  7. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Efficient Monetary Policy Design near Price Stability," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 327-365, December.
  8. William Poole, 2008. "Rules-of-thumb for guiding monetary policy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 447-498.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kurozumi, Takushi & Van Zandweghe, Willem, 2010. "Labor market search, the Taylor principle, and indeterminacy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 851-858, October.
  2. Ellis, Michael A. & Liu, Dandan, 2013. "Do FOMC forecasts add value to staff forecasts?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 332-340.
  3. Kurozumi, Takushi & Van Zandweghe, Willem, 2012. "Learning about monetary policy rules when labor market search and matching frictions matter," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 523-535.
  4. Wolters, Maik Hendrik, 2010. "Estimating Monetary Policy Reaction Functions Using Quantile Regressions," MPRA Paper 23857, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Schultefrankenfeld, Guido, 2010. "Forecast uncertainty and the Bank of England interest rate decisions," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2010,27, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  6. Vasco Gabriel & Paul Levine & Christopher Spencer, 2008. "How forward-looking is the Fed? Direct estimates from a `Calvo-type' rule," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0508, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  7. Tara M. Sinclair & Edward N. Gamber & H.O. Stekler & Elizabeth Reid, 2008. "Jointly Evaluating the Federal Reserve’s Forecasts of GDP Growth and Inflation," Working Papers 2008-002, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting, revised Mar 2011.
  8. Seip, Knut L. & McNown, Robert, 2013. "Monetary policy and stability during six periods in US economic history: 1959–2008: a novel, nonlinear monetary policy rule," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 307-325.
  9. Tillmann, Peter, 2010. "The Fed's perceived Phillips curve: Evidence from individual FOMC forecasts," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1008-1013, December.
  10. Minford, Patrick, 2008. "Commentary on Economic Projections and Rules of Thumb for Monetary Policy (by Athanasios Orphanides and Volker Wieland)," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2008/16, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  11. Tillmann, Peter, 2011. "Strategic forecasting on the FOMC," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 547-553, September.
  12. Fendel, Ralf & Rülke, Jan-Christoph, 2012. "Are heterogeneous FOMC forecasts consistent with the Fed’s monetary policy?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 5-7.

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