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Why Are Target Interest Rate Changes So Persistent?

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  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Why Are Target Interest Rate Changes So Persistent?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 126-162, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:126-62
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.4.126
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E47 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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