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Discrete policy changes and empirical models of the federal funds rate

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  • Michael J. Dueker
  • Robert H. Rasche

Abstract

Empirical models of the federal funds rate almost uniformly use the quarterly or monthly average of the daily rates. One empirical question about the federal funds rate concerns the extent to which monetary policymakers smooth this interest rate. Under the hypothesis of rate smoothing, policymakers set the interest rate this period equal to a weighted average of the rate inherited from the previous quarter and the rate implied by current economic conditions, such as the Taylor rule rate. Perhaps surprisingly, however, little attention has been given to measuring the interest rate inherited from the previous quarter. Previous tests for interest rate smoothing have assumed that the quarterly or monthly average from the previous period is the inherited rate. The authors of this study, in contrast, suggest that the end-of-quarter level of the target federal funds rate is the inherited rate, and empirical tests support this proposition. The authors show that this alternative view of the rate inherited from the past affects empirical results concerning interest rate smoothing, even in relatively rich models that include regime switching.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Dueker & Robert H. Rasche, 2004. "Discrete policy changes and empirical models of the federal funds rate," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 61-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2004:i:nov:p:61-72:n:v.86no.6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    2. James D. Hamilton & Oscar Jorda, 2002. "A Model of the Federal Funds Rate Target," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1135-1167, October.
    3. Thomas A. Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Testing for Indeterminacy: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 190-217, March.
    4. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-921, September.
    5. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
    6. Sack, Brian, 2000. "Does the fed act gradually? A VAR analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 229-256, August.
    7. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
    8. Michael J. Dueker, 2002. "The monetary policy innovation paradox in VARs: a "discrete" explanation," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar., pages 43-50.
    9. Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Smoothing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 861-886.
    10. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesca Rondina, 2010. "Policy evaluation and uncertainty about the effects of oil prices on economic activity," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 855.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    2. van den Hauwe, Sjoerd & Paap, Richard & van Dijk, Dick, 2013. "Bayesian forecasting of federal funds target rate decisions," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 19-40.
    3. Siddhartha Chib & Michael Dueker & Anatoliy Belaygorod, 2005. "Structural Breaks in Estimated DSGE Models with Indeterminacy," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 357, Society for Computational Economics.
    4. Anatoliy Belaygorod & Michael J. Dueker, 2005. "Discrete monetary policy changes and changing inflation targets in estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 719-734.
    5. Dick van Dijk & Robin L. Lumsdaine & Michel van der Wel, 2014. "Market Set-Up in Advance of Federal Reserve Policy Decisions," NBER Working Papers 19814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    Keywords

    Federal funds rate ; Monetary policy;

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