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The Perils of Taylor Rules

  • Benhabib, Jess
  • Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie
  • Uribe, Martin

Since John Taylor's (1993) seminal paper, a large literature has argued that active interest rate feedback rules, that is, rules that respond to increases in inflation with a more than one-for-one increase in the nominal interest rate, are stabilizing. In this paper, we argue that once the zero bound on nominal interest rates is taken into account, active interest-rate feedback rules can easily lead to unexpected consequences. Specifically, in the context of a sticky-price model, we show that even if the steady state at which monetary policy is active is locally the unique equilibrium, typically there exists an infinite number of equilibrium trajectories originating arbitrarily close to that steady state that converge either to another steady state at which monetary policy is passive or to a stable limit cycle around the active steady state. We conclude that the use of local techniques for monetary policy evaluation might lead to spurious policy recommendations.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 96 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (January)
Pages: 40-69

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:96:y:2001:i:1-2:p:40-69
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Taylor, John B., 1999. "The robustness and efficiency of monetary policy rules as guidelines for interest rate setting by the European central bank," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 655-679, June.
  3. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  4. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. John B. Taylor, 1998. "An Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bernanke, Ben S & Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Inflation Forecasts and Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 653-84, November.
  9. Benhabib, J. & Schmitt-Grohe, S. & Uribe, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy and Multiple Equilibria," Working Papers 98-02, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  13. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
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  17. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 6570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Taylor, J.B., 1998. "The Robustness and Efficiency of Monetary Policy Rules as Guidelines for Interest Rate Setting by European Central Bank," Papers 649, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  19. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
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  21. 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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  24. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
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