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How Credible Is the Federal Reserve? A Structural Estimation of Policy Re-optimizations

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  • Davide Debortoli
  • Aeimit Lakdawala

Abstract

The paper proposes a new measure of the degree of credibility of the Federal Reserve. We estimate a medium-scale macroeconomic model, where the central bank has access to a commitment technology, but where a regime-switching process governs occasional re-optimizations of announced plans. The framework nests the commonly used discretion and commitment cases, while allowing for a continuum of intermediate cases. Our estimates reject both full-commitment and discretion. We instead identify occasional re-optimization episodes both before and during the Great Moderation period. Finally, through counterfactual analyses we assess the role of credibility over the past four decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Debortoli & Aeimit Lakdawala, 2016. "How Credible Is the Federal Reserve? A Structural Estimation of Policy Re-optimizations," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 42-76, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:42-76
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20150029
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Bernard Chatelain & Kirsten Ralf, 2021. "Imperfect Credibility versus No Credibility of Optimal Monetary Policy," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 72(1), pages 43-63.
    2. Boris Chafwehe Author-Email: boris.chafwehe@uclouvain.be & Rigas Oikonomou & Romanos Priftis & Lukas Vogel, 2018. "Endogenous forward guidance," Working Paper Research 354, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Lakdawala, Aeimit & Wu, Shu, 2017. "Federal Reserve credibility and the term structure of interest rates," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 364-389.
    4. Boris Chafwehé & Rigas Oikonomou & Romanos Priftis & Lukas Vogel, 2021. "(Optimal) Monetary Policy with and without Debt," Staff Working Papers 21-5, Bank of Canada.
    5. Jeffrey Campbell & Jacob Weber, 2021. "Discretion rather than rules: Equilibrium uniqueness and forward guidance with inconsistent optimal plans," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 41, pages 243-254, July.
    6. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jacob P. Weber, 2018. "Open Mouth Operations," Working Paper Series WP-2018-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    7. Tatiana Kirsanova & Celsa Machado & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2018. "Should the ECB Coordinate EMU Fiscal Policies?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 14(3), pages 237-280, June.
    8. Davide Debortoli & Jinill Kim & Jesper Lindé & Ricardo Nunes, 2019. "Designing a Simple Loss Function for Central Banks: Does a Dual Mandate Make Sense?," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(621), pages 2010-2038.
    9. Fabio Canetg, 2021. "Strategic deviations in optimal monetary policy," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 157(1), pages 1-13, December.
    10. Luca Gambetti & Dimitris Korobilis & John D. Tsoukalas & Francesco Zanetti, 2017. "The Effect of News Shocks and Monetary Policy," BCAM Working Papers 1705, Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics.
    11. Gersbach, Hans & Liu, Yulin & Tischhauser, Martin, 2021. "Versatile forward guidance: escaping or switching?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    12. Tatiana Kirsanova & Celsa Machado & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2020. "Tight and Loose, and Red and Blue: A 'Dance' of Macro Policies in the US," Working Papers 2020_14, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    13. Jean-Bernard Chatelain & Kirsten Ralf, 2017. "Can We Identify the Fed's Preferences?," Working Papers halshs-01549908, HAL.
    14. Chen, Xiaoshan & Kirsanova, Tatiana & Leith, Campbell, 2017. "How optimal is US monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 96-111.
    15. Givens, Gregory E., 2016. "On the gains from monetary policy commitment under deep habits," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 19-36.
    16. Haberis, Alex & Harrison, Richard & Waldron, Matthew, 2017. "Uncertain forward guidance," Bank of England working papers 654, Bank of England.
    17. Ippei Fujiwara & Timothy Kam & Takeki Sunakawa, 2016. "A note on imperfect credibility," CAMA Working Papers 2016-37, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    18. Ricardo Nunes & Jinill Kim & Jesper Linde & Davide Debortoli, 2014. "Designing a Simple Loss Function for the Fed: Does the Dual Mandate Make Sense?," 2014 Meeting Papers 1043, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Fabio Canetg, 2018. "Strategic Deviations in Optimal Monetary Policy," Diskussionsschriften dp1817, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    20. Ragna Alstadheim & Øistein Røisland, 2017. "When Preferences for a Stable Interest Rate Become Self‐Defeating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(2-3), pages 393-415, March.
    21. Jordi Galí, 2018. "The State of New Keynesian Economics: A Partial Assessment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 87-112, Summer.
    22. Liu, Ding & Zhang, Yue & Sun, Weihong, 2020. "Commitment or discretion? An empirical investigation of monetary policy preferences in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 409-419.
    23. Tatiana Kirsanova & Celsa Machado & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2018. "Should the ECB Coordinate EMU Fiscal Policies?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 14(3), pages 237-280, June.
    24. Fujiwara, Ippei & Kam, Timothy & Sunakawa, Takeki, 2019. "On two notions of imperfect credibility in optimal monetary policies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 22-25.
    25. Roulleau-Pasdeloup, Jordan, 2020. "Optimal monetary policy and determinacy under active/passive regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • 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
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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