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Why Are Target Interest Rate Changes So Persistent?

  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

While the degree of policy inertia in central banks' reaction functions is a central ingredient in theoretical and empirical monetary economics, the source of the observed policy inertia in the United States is controversial, with tests of competing hypotheses, such as interest-smoothing and persistent-shocks, being inconclusive. This paper employs real time data; nested specifications with flexible time series structures; narratives; interest rate forecasts of the Fed, financial markets, and professional forecasters; and instrumental variables to discriminate between competing explanations of policy inertia. The evidence strongly favors the interest-smoothing explanation and thus can help resolve a key puzzle in monetary economics. (JEL C53, E43, E47, E52, E58)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.4.4.126
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 126-62

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:126-62
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.4.126
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-macro
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  1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Olivier Coibion, 2010. "What can survey forecasts tell us about informational rigidities?," 2010 Meeting Papers 277, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Monetary Policy, Trend Inflation and the Great Moderation:An Alternative Interpretation," Working Papers 94, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
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  8. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  9. Consolo, Agostino & Favero, Carlo A., 2009. "Monetary policy inertia: More a fiction than a fact?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 900-906, September.
  10. Bharat Trehan & Tao Wu, 2004. "Time varying equilibrium real rates and monetary policy analysis," Working Paper Series 2004-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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  12. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Historical monetary policy analysis and the Taylor rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 983-1022, July.
  13. Leonardo Melosi, 2013. "Signaling Effects of Monetary Policy," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  14. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Mark Carlson, 2006. "A brief history of the 1987 stock market crash with a discussion of the Federal Reserve response," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  23. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Why Are Target Interest Rate Changes So Persistent?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 126-62, October.
  24. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Information Rigidity and the Expectations Formation Process: A Simple Framework and New Facts," NBER Working Papers 16537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Gerlach-Kristen Petra, 2004. "Interest-Rate Smoothing: Monetary Policy Inertia or Unobserved Variables?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, March.
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