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Identifying monetary policy: a primer


  • Tao Zha


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tao Zha, 1997. "Identifying monetary policy: a primer," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 2, pages 26-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:1997:i:q2:p:26-43:n:v.82no.2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1995. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Shocks to Monetary Policy on Exchange Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 975-1009.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 417-422, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1977. "Unanticipated Money Growth and Unemployment in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 101-115, March.
    6. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 121-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    8. 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.
    9. 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 1228-1247, December.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. James Tobin, 1970. "Money and Income: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 301-317.
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mauricio Villamizar, 2014. "Identifying the Effects of Simultaneous Monetary Policy Shocks. Fear of Floating under Inflation targeting," Borradores de Economia 835, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    2. Hanson, Michael S., 2004. "The "price puzzle" reconsidered," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1385-1413, October.
    3. Carlos Esteban Posada, 1997. "Una Presentación Gráfica De La Nueva Teoría De La Política Anti-Inflacionaria Y El Caso Colombiano," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 003719, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    4. Lekgatlhamang Setlhare, 2004. "Bank Of Botswana'S Reaction Function: Modelling Botswana'S Monetary Policy Strategy," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(2), pages 384-406, June.
    5. Hassan, Rubina & Shahzad, Mirza Muhammad, 2011. "A macroeconometric framework for monetary policy evaluation: A case study of Pakistan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 118-137, January.
    6. Domac, Ilker, 1999. "The distributional consequences of monetary policy : evidence from Malaysia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2170, The World Bank.
    7. Mauricio Villamizar-Villegas, 2016. "Identifying The Effects Of Simultaneous Monetary Policy Shocks," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 268-296, April.
    8. Muhanji, Stella & Malikane, Christopher & Ojah, Kalu, 2013. "Price and liquidity puzzles of a monetary shock: Evidence from indebted African economies," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 620-630.
    9. Forhad, Abdur Rahman & Homaifar, Ghassem A. & Salimullah, Abul Hasnat Muhammed, 2017. "Monetary Policy Transmission Effect On The Real Sector Of The Bangladesh Economy: An Svar Approach," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 70(1), pages 25-46.

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    Money supply ; Monetary policy;


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