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Identifying monetary policy: a primer

  • Tao Zha
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The question of the quantitative effect of monetary policy has been of considerable debate for decades. Economists' beliefs about it stem largely from theoretical models that imply the effects of changing monetary policy, and different experiments or theories lead to different conclusions. The actual economy, however, is not the result of any such controlled experiment. In the real world, inferences about the quantitative effect of monetary policy must rely on observations of actual economic activity in which many variables are changing simultaneously. ; This article argues that to assess the actual effect of monetary policy requires understanding the interaction among all players in the economy-the central bank, financial market participants, producers, and consumers. The author first explains the conceptual importance of sorting out the central bank's behavior from that of the many other players. He then discusses difficulties involved in sorting out such a behavior in any given country. Finally, he illustrates this sorting-out process with a few examples in the economics literature.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (1997)
Issue (Month): Q 2 ()
Pages: 26-43

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:1997:i:q2:p:26-43:n:v.82no.2
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  1. Pierre Duguay & Stephen Poloz, 1994. "The Role of Economic Projections in Canadian Monetary Policy Formulation," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(2), pages 189-199, June.
  2. Gordon, David B & Leeper, Eric M, 1994. "The Dynamic Impacts of Monetary Policy: An Exercise in Tentative Identification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1228-47, December.
  3. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5h07k8vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  5. Tobin, James, 1970. "Money and Income: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 301-17, May.
  6. Leeper, Eric M., 1997. "Narrative and VAR approaches to monetary policy: Common identification problems," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 641-657, December.
  7. Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1996. "What Does Monetary Policy Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 1-78.
  8. Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L, 1995. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Shocks to Monetary Policy on Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 975-1009, November.
  9. Vittorio Grilli & Nouriel Roubini, 1995. "Liquidity and Exchange Rates: Puzzling Evidence from the G-7 Countries," Working Papers 95-17, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Cushman, David O. & Zha, Tao, 1997. "Identifying monetary policy in a small open economy under flexible exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 433-448, August.
  11. Robert J. Barro, 1976. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," Working Papers 234, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Eric M. Leeper, 1992. "Facing up to our ignorance about measuring monetary policy effects," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue May, pages 1-16.
  13. Dias, Francisco C & Machado, Jose A F & Pinheiro, Maximiano R, 1996. "Structural VAR Estimation with Exogeneity Restrictions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(2), pages 417-22, May.
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