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Elements of a Theory of Design Limits to Optimal Policy

  • William A. Brock
  • Steven N. Durlauf

This paper presents a framework for understanding the limits that exist in optimal policy design in dynamic contexts. We consider the design of policies in the context of dynamic linear models. Fundamental design limits exist for policy rules in such environments in the sense that any policy rule embodies tradeoffs between the magnitudes of different frequency-specific components of the variance. Hence policies that are effective in eliminating low frequency variance components of a state variable can only do so at the cost of exacerbating high frequency variance components, and vice versa. Examples of the implications of such tradeoffs are considered. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester, 2004.

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Article provided by University of Manchester in its journal The Manchester School.

Volume (Year): 72 (2004)
Issue (Month): s1 (09)
Pages: 1-18

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Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:72:y:2004:i:s1:p:1-18
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  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Robust control of forward-looking models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-604, April.
  3. Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James H., 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty In A Small Model Of The U.S. Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 85-110, February.
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  7. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:167-85 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, June.
  9. Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen, 2000. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Christopher A. Sims, 2001. "Pitfalls of a Minimax Approach to Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 51-54, May.
  11. Barsky, Robert B & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 503-34, June.
  12. Mark Salmon & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2001. "Robust Decision Theory and the Lucas Critique," Working Papers wp01-10, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  13. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 111-144, February.
  14. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "Spectral Welfare Cost Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 345-67, May.
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  16. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:111-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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