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Monetary Policy as a Process of Search


  • Caplin, Andrew
  • Leahy, John


Monetary policymakers are uncertain about the state of the economy and learn from the economy's reaction to policy. Private agents, however, anticipate any systematic attempt to incorporate this information into future policy. The authors analyze this feedback in the context of a monetary authority's attempt to stimulate an economy in recession. They show that modest stimuli may prove ineffectual. If small reductions in interest rates are unlikely to promote a response, then they may be followed by further cuts. A vicious circle develops in which the expectation that the policy could fail leads investors to delay investment, thereby promoting failure. Copyright 1996 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1996. "Monetary Policy as a Process of Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 689-702, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:86:y:1996:i:4:p:689-702

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles W. Calomiris & Gary Gorton, 1991. "The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 109-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gorton, Gary & Pennacchi, George, 1990. " Financial Intermediaries and Liquidity Creation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 49-71, March.
    3. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
    4. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    5. Calomiris, Charles W. & Schweikart, Larry, 1991. "The Panic of 1857: Origins, Transmission, and Containment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 807-834, December.
    6. Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
    7. Calomiris, Charles W., 1990. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary? A Historical Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 283-295, June.
    8. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    9. Charles W. Calomiris & Charles M. Kahn & Stefan Krasa, 1991. "Optimal contingent bank liquidation under moral hazard," Working Paper Series, Issues in Financial Regulation 91-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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