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The Case for Forecast Targeting as a Monetary Policy Strategy

  • Michael Woodford

At central banks around the world, including the Bank of England, Sweden's Riksbank, Norway's Norges Bank, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, policy is conducted on the basis of "inflation-forecast targeting": the central bank constructs quantitative projections of the economy's expected future evolution based on the way in which it intends to control short-term interest rates, and public discussion of those projections plays a critical role in justifying the banks' conduct of monetary policy to the public. What accounts for the appeal of this approach? Should it be adopted more widely or more explicitly? I review the long-running debate between proponents of monetary rules and proponents of discretionary monetary policy and argue that inflation-forecast targeting represents a powerful synthesis of the two approaches. I explore some common questions that arise about inflation-forecast targeting and consider how the U.S. Federal Reserve might move toward an explicit policy of inflation-forecast targeting.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.4.3
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 3-24

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:4:p:3-24
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.4.3
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  1. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," NBER Working Papers 6790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Luca Benati, 2005. "U.K. Monetary Regimes and Macroeconomic Stylised Facts," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 107, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Working Paper Series 0012, European Central Bank.
  4. Benjamin M. Friedman & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1996. "A price target for U.S. monetary policy? Lessons from the experience with money growth targets," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Kosuke Aoki & Kalin Nikolov, 2006. "Rule-Based Monetary Policy under Central Bank Learning," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 145-195 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
  7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  8. Marc Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Inflation-Targeting Rules," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 93-172 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jansson, Per & Vredin, Anders, 2003. "Forecast-Based Monetary Policy: The Case of Sweden," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 349-80, Winter.
  10. Estrella, Arturo & Mishkin, Frederic S., 1997. "Is there a role for monetary aggregates in the conduct of monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 279-304, October.
  11. Leitemo, Kai, 2003. " Targeting Inflation by Constant-Interest-Rate Forecasts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 609-26, August.
  12. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Monetary Policy When Potential Output is Uncertain: Understanding the Growth Gamble of the 1990s," NBER Working Papers 12268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central Bank Communication and Policy Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 11898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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