IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Simplicity versus optimality: The choice of monetary policy rules when agents must learn

  • Tetlow, Robert J.
  • von zur Muehlen, Peter

The monetary policy rules that are widely discussed--notably the Taylor rule--are remarkable for their simplicity. One reason for the apparent preference for simple ad hoc rules over optimal rules might be the assumption of full information maintained in the computation of an optimal rule. Arguably this makes optimal control rules less robust to model specification errors. In this paper, we drop the full-information assumption and investigate the choice of policy rules when agents must learn the rule that is in use. To do this, we conduct stochastic simulations on a small, estimated forward-looking model, with agents following a strategy of least- squares learning or discounted least-squares learning. We find that the costs of learning a new rule can, under some circumstances, be substantial. These circumstances vary with the preferences of the monetary authority and with the rule initially in place. Policymakers with strong preferences for inflation control must incur substantial costs when they change the rule; but they are nearly always willing to bear those costs. Policymakers with weak preferences for inflation control, on the other hand, may actually benefit from agents' prior belief that a strong rule is in place.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V85-418PPNR-8/2/2446fa2cf4e702a728c982c8059d2298
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 25 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (January)
Pages: 245-279

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:25:y:2001:i:1-2:p:245-279
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1995. "The [un]importance of forward-looking behavior in price specifications," Working Papers 95-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "Interest Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 57-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John C. Williams, 1999. "Simple rules for monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1993. "Inflation persistence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1998. "An Optimising Model for Monetary Policy Analysis: Can Habit Formation Help?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9812, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  6. Levine, Paul L, 1991. "Should Rules be Simple?," CEPR Discussion Papers 515, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-55, November.
  8. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer & Mark A. Hooker, 1988. "Learning about monetary regime shifts in an overlapping wage contract model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Robert King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "What Should the Monetary Authority Do When Prices Are Sticky?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 349-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Cripps, Martin, 1988. "Learning Rational Expectations In A Policy Game," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 297, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. Robert E. Hall & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1993. "Nominal Income Targeting," NBER Working Papers 4439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
  13. Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen, 1999. "Simplicity versus optimality the choice of monetary policy rules when agents must learn," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Estimation and Control of a Macroeconomic Model with Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1267-86, September.
  15. John B. Taylor, 1994. "The inflation/output variability trade-off revisited," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 38, pages 21-24.
  16. Arturo Extrella & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1998. "Dynamic inconsistencies: counterfactual implications of a class of rational expectations models," Working Papers 98-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  17. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy rules for inflation targeting," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  18. Laxton, Douglas & Rose, David & Tambakis, Demosthenes, 1999. "The U.S. Phillips curve: The case for asymmetry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 1459-1485, September.
  19. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  21. Anderson, Gary & Moore, George, 1985. "A linear algebraic procedure for solving linear perfect foresight models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-252.
  22. Bankim Chadha & Paul R. Masson & Guy Meredith, 1992. "Models of Inflation and the Costs of Disinflation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(2), pages 395-431, June.
  23. Levine, Paul & Currie, David, 1987. "The design of feedback rules in linear stochastic rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, March.
  24. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of simple monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  25. 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.
  26. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521264440 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Taylor, John B, 1975. "Monetary Policy during a Transition to Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1009-21, October.
  28. Buiter, Willem H & Jewitt, Ian, 1981. "Staggered Wage Setting with Real Wage Relativities: Variations on a Theme of Taylor," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 49(3), pages 211-28, September.
  29. Roberts, John M, 1995. "New Keynesian Economics and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 975-84, November.
  30. Bennett T. McCallum, 1987. "The case for rules in the conduct of monetary policy: a concrete example," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sep, pages 10-18.
  31. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1986. "The Consistency of Optimal Policy in Stochastic Rational Expectations Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 124, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:25:y:2001:i:1-2:p:245-279. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.