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Dove or Hawk? Characterizing monetary policy regime switches in India


  • Hutchison, Michael M.
  • Sengupta, Rajeswari
  • Singh, Nirvikar


The past two decades have witnessed a worldwide move by emerging markets to adopt explicit or implicit inflation targeting regimes. A notable and often discussed exception to this trend, of course, is China which follows a pegged exchange rate regime supported by capital controls. Another major exception is India. It is not clear how to characterize the monetary regime or identify the nominal monetary anchor in India. Is central bank policy in India following a predictable rule that is heavily influenced by a quasi inflation target? And how has the monetary regime been affected by the gradual process of financial liberalization in India? To address these points, we investigate monetary policy regime change in India using a Markov switching model to estimate a time-varying Taylor-type rule for the Reserve Bank of India. We find that the conduct of monetary policy over the last two decades can be characterized by two regimes, which we term ‘Hawk’ and ‘Dove.’ In the first of these two regimes, the central bank reveals a greater relative (though not absolute) weight on controlling inflation vis-à-vis narrowing the output gap. The central bank however was found to be in the “Dove” regime about half of our sample period, focusing more on the output gap and exchange rate targets to stimulate exports, rather than moderating inflation. India thus seems to be following its own direction in the conduct of monetary policy, seemingly not overly influenced by the emphasis on quasi-inflation targeting seen in many emerging markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Hutchison, Michael M. & Sengupta, Rajeswari & Singh, Nirvikar, 2013. "Dove or Hawk? Characterizing monetary policy regime switches in India," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 183-202.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ememar:v:16:y:2013:i:c:p:183-202
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ememar.2013.05.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lokendra Kumawat & N R Bhanumurthy, 2016. "Regime Shifts in India’s Monetary Policy Response Function," Working Papers id:11400, eSocialSciences.
    2. Chuku Chuku & Paul Middleditch, 2016. "Characterizing monetary and fiscal policy rules and interactions when commodity prices matter," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 222, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    3. repec:bla:sajeco:v:85:y:2017:i:1:p:28-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:3:p:491-506 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gupta,Poonam - DECOS, 2016. "Capital flows and central banking : the Indian experience," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7569, The World Bank.
    6. Kumawat, Lokendra & Bhanumurthy, N. R., 2016. "Regime Shifts in India's Monetary Policy Response Function," Working Papers 16/177, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    7. Bhandari, Pranjul & Frankel, Jeffrey, 2017. "Nominal GDP targeting for developing countries," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 491-506.
    8. Rajnish Mehra & Arunima Sinha, 2016. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates in India," NBER Working Papers 22020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Monetary policy; Taylor rule; Markov regime switching; Inflation targeting; RBI's discretionary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance


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