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Measuring the Time Inconsistency of US Monetary Policy

  • PAOLO SURICO

This paper offers an alternative explanation for the great inflation of the 1970s by measuring a novel source of monetary policy time inconsistency. In the presence of asymmetric preferences, the monetary authorities generate a systematic inflation bias through the private-sector expectations of a larger policy response in recessions than in booms. The estimated Fed's implicit target for inflation has declined from the pre- to the post-Volcker regime. The average inflation bias was about 1% before 1979, but this has disappeared over the last two decades, because the preferences on output stabilization were large and asymmetric only in the former period. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2007.

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 297 (02)
Pages: 22-38

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:75:y:2008:i:297:p:22-38
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  1. Paolo Surico, 2004. "Inflation Targeting and Nonlinear Policy Rules: the Case of Asymmetric Preferences," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 108, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Paolo Surico, 2004. "Measuring the Time-Inconsistency of US Monetary Policy," Macroeconomics 0401006, EconWPA.
  3. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2003. "Does the Barro-Gordon model explain the behavior of US inflation? A reexamination of the empirical evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1375-1390, September.
  4. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 2003. "Optimal Discretionary Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 657-665, 07.
  6. Petra M. Geraats, 2000. "Inflation and Its Variation: An Alternative Explanation," Macroeconomics 0004001, EconWPA.
  7. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  9. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
  10. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," Economics Series 10, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  11. 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.
  12. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  13. Svensson, L.E.O., 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," Papers 595, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  14. Paolo Surico, 2002. "Uncovering Policy Makers' Loss Function," Macroeconomics 0210003, EconWPA.
  15. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 1998. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," FMG Discussion Papers dp306, Financial Markets Group.
  16. Bennett T. McCallum, 1996. "Crucial Issues Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "What happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-213, October.
  18. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Cukierman, Alex, 2001. "Are Contemporary Central Banks Transparent about Economic Models and Objectives and What Difference Does it Make?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2001,05, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  20. Alex Cukierman & Stefan Gerlach, 2003. "The inflation bias revisited: theory and some international evidence," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 541-565, 09.
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