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When is discretion superior to timeless perspective policymaking?

  • Dennis, Richard

The monetary policy literature assumes increasingly that policy is formulated according to the timeless perspective (Woodford, 1999a). However, by treating appropriately the auxiliary state variables that characterize the timeless perspective equilibrium when evaluating policy performance, this paper shows that discretionary policymaking can be superior to timeless perspective policymaking and identifies model features that make this outcome more likely. Using standard New Keynesian DSGE models, discretion is found to dominate timeless perspective policymaking when the price/wage Phillips curves are relatively flat, due, perhaps, to firm-specific capital (or labor) and/or Kimball (1995) aggregation in combination with nominal rigidities. These results suggest that studies applying the timeless perspective might also usefully compare its performance to discretion, paying careful attention to how policy performance is evaluated.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 57 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 266-277

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:57:y:2010:i:3:p:266-277
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Carl Walsh, 2001. "Speed Limit Policies: The Output Gap and Optimal Monetary Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 609, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2007. "Shocks and frictions in US business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE approach," Working Paper Series 0722, European Central Bank.
  3. Gilles Oudiz & Jeffrey Sachs, 1985. "International Policy Coordination in Dynamic Macroeconomic Models," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Policy Coordination, pages 274-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John C. Williams & Noah Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy under uncertainty in micro-founded macroeconometric models," Working Paper Series 2005-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Woodford, Michael, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," CFS Working Paper Series 1999/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  6. Ernst Schaumburg & Andrea Tambalotti, 2003. "An investigation of the gains from commitment in monetary policy," Staff Reports 171, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy," Working Papers 01-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Rabanal, Pau & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2005. "Comparing New Keynesian models of the business cycle: A Bayesian approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1151-1166, September.
  9. Tatiana Damjanovic & Vladislav Damjanovic & Charles Nolan, 2007. "Unconditionally Optimal Monetary Policy," CDMA Working Paper Series 200721, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  10. Kimball, Miles S, 1995. "The Quantitative Analytics of the Basic Neomonetarist Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1241-77, November.
  11. Kydland, Finn E. & Prescott, Edward C., 1980. "Dynamic optimal taxation, rational expectations and optimal control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 79-91, May.
  12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2004. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," Working Paper Series 0345, European Central Bank.
  14. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2000. "Timeless Perspectives vs. Discretionary Monetary Policy In Forward-Looking Models," NBER Working Papers 7915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Söderlind, Paul, 1998. "Solution and Estimation of RE Macromodels with Optimal Policy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 256, Stockholm School of Economics.
  16. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  17. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  18. Cohen, Daniel & Michel, Philippe, 1988. "How Should Control Theory Be Used to Calculate a Time-Consistent Government Policy?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 263-74, April.
  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521441964 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Commentary : how should monetary policy be conducted in an era of price stability?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 277-316.
  21. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "An estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Research 35, National Bank of Belgium.
  22. Jensen, Christian & McCallum, Bennett T., 2002. "The non-optimality of proposed monetary policy rules under timeless perspective commitment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 163-168, October.
  23. 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.
  24. Debortoli, Davide & Nunes, Ricardo, 2010. "Fiscal policy under loose commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1005-1032, May.
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