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Targeting versus instrument rules for monetary policy

Listed author(s):
  • Bennett T. McCallum
  • Edward Nelson

Svensson (2003) argues strongly that specific targeting rules-first-order optimality conditions for a specific objective function and model-are normatively superior to instrument rules for the conduct of monetary policy. That argument is based largely on four main objections to the latter, plus a claim concerning the relative interest-instrument variability entailed by the two approaches. The present paper considers the four objections in turn and advances arguments that contradict all of them. Then, in the paper's analytical sections, it is demonstrated that the variability claim is incorrect, for a neo-canonical model and also for a variant with one-period-ahead plans used by Svensson, providing that the same decisionmaking errors are relevant under the two alternative approaches. Arguments relating to general targeting rules and actual central bank practice are also included.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): Sep ()
Pages: 597-612

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2005:i:sep:p:597-612:n:v.87no.5
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  1. Svensson, Lars E O, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," CEPR Discussion Papers 1511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," NBER Working Papers 6790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2002. "What Is Wrong with Taylor Rules? Using Judgment in Monetary Policy through Targeting Rules," Working Papers 118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  4. 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.
  5. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 1999. "Performance of Operational Policy Rules in an Estimated Semiclassical Structural Model," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 15-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Charles R. Bean & Matthias Paustian & Adrian Penalver & Tim Taylor, 2010. "Monetary policy after the fall," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 267-328.
  7. Andrew T.. Levin & Volker Wieland & John Williams, 1999. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 263-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2000. "Nominal Income Targeting in an Open-Economy Optimizing Model," NBER Working Papers 6675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  10. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Rudebusch , Glenn, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Seminar Papers 637, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  11. Bennett T. McCallum, 1997. "Issues in the Design of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 2000. "Making Monetary Policy: Objectives and Rules," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 43-59, Winter.
  13. Jensen, Henrik, 1999. "Targeting Nominal Income Growth or Inflation?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Implementing Optimal Policy through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 19-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Denise Côté & Jean-Paul Lam & Ying Liu & Pierre St-Amant, 2002. "The Role of Simple Rules in the Conduct of Canadian Monetary Policy," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2002(Spring), pages 27-35.
  16. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: II. Applications," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000394, UCLA Department of Economics.
  17. Dale W. Henderson & Warwick J. McKibbin, 1993. "A comparison of some basic monetary policy regimes for open economies: implications of different degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence," International Finance Discussion Papers 458, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 2000. "Monetary Policy for an Open Economy: An Alternative Framework with Optimizing Agents and Sticky Prices," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 74-91, Winter.
  19. Bullard, James & Mitra, Kaushik, 2002. "Learning about monetary policy rules," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1105-1129, September.
  20. Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton & Ann-Charlotte Eliasson, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 841, Society for Computational Economics.
  21. 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.
  22. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1.
  23. 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.
  24. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Optimal Monetary Policy in Open versus Closed Economies: An Integrated Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 248-252, May.
  25. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  26. Professor Lars E O Svensson, 2001. "Independent review of the operation of monetary policy in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 64, March.
  27. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  28. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Andrew T. Levin & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Working Paper Series 2003-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  30. David Longworth & Brian O´Reilly, 2002. "The Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism and Policy Rules in Canada," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy: Rules and Transmission Mechanisms, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 13, pages 357-392 Central Bank of Chile.
  31. Christopher Allsopp, 2002. "Macroeconomic Policy Rules in Theory and in Practice," Discussion Papers 10, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  32. Carl Walsh, 2001. "Speed Limit Policies: The Output Gap and Optimal Monetary Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 609, CESifo Group Munich.
  33. Tim Hampton, 2002. "The role of the Reserve Bank's macro model in the formation of interest rate projections," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 65, June.
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