Are public preferences reflected in monetary policy reaction functions?
In this paper, we test whether public preferences for price stability (obtained from the Eurobarometer survey) were actually reflected in the interest rates set by eight central banks. We estimate augmented Taylor (1993) rules for the period 1976Q2–1994Q1 using the dynamic GMM estimator. We find, first, that interest rates did reflect society’s preferences since the central banks raised rates when society’s inflation aversion was above its long-run trend. Second, the reaction to inflation is was non-linearly increasing in the degree of inflation aversion. Third, this emphasis on fighting inflation did not have a detrimental effect on output stabilization. We conclude with some implications concerning the democratic legitimation of central banks.
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