Dove or Hawk? Characterizing monetary policy regime switches in India
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.
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