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Robust estimation and monetary policy with unobserved structural change

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  • John C. Williams

Abstract

This paper considers the joint problem of model estimation and implementation of monetary policy in the face of uncertainty regarding the process of structural change in the economy. I model unobserved structural change through time variation in the natural rates of interest and unemployment. I show that certainty equivalent optimal policies perform poorly when there is model uncertainty about the natural rate processes. I then examine the properties of combined estimation methods and policy rules that are robust to this type of model uncertainty. I find that weighted averages of sample means perform well as estimators of natural rates. The optimal policy under uncertainty responds more aggressively to inflation and less so to the perceived unemployment gap than the certainty equivalent policy. This robust estimation/policy combination is highly effective at mitigating the effects of natural rate mismeasurement.

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Williams, 2006. "Robust estimation and monetary policy with unobserved structural change," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfer:y:2006:p:1-16
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul De Grauwe, 2012. "Booms and busts: New Keynesian and behavioural explanations," Chapters,in: What’s Right with Macroeconomics?, chapter 6, pages 149-180 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2007. "Inflation targeting under imperfect knowledge," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 1-23.
    3. GEORGE W. EVANS & BRUCE McGOUGH, 2007. "Optimal Constrained Interest-Rate Rules," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(6), pages 1335-1356, September.
    4. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Monetary Policy with Imperfect Knowledge," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 366-375, 04-05.
    5. Filippo Gori, 2016. "Disentangling the Monetary Policy Stance," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 27, Bank of Lithuania.
    6. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2007. "Robust monetary policy with imperfect knowledge," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1406-1435, July.
    7. Ippei Fujiwara, Naoko Hara, Naohisa Hirakata, Takeshi Kimura, and Shinichiro Watanabe, 2007. "Japanese Monetary Policy during the Collapse of the Bubble Economy: A View of Policymaking under Uncertainty," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 25(2), pages 89-128, November.
    8. Richard A. Ashley & Randall J. Verbrugge., 2006. "Mis-Specification in Phillips Curve Regressions: Quantifying Frequency Dependence in This Relationship While Allowing for Feedback," Working Papers e06-11, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
    9. Richard A. Ashley. & Randall J. Verbrugge., 2006. "Mis-Specification and Frequency Dependence in a New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Working Papers e06-12, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Maria Demertzis & Alexander F. Tieman, 2007. "Dealing With Uncertainty: Robust Rules In Monetary Policy," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(2), pages 295-307, May.

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