IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Spectral Welfare Cost Functions


  • Otrok, Christopher


If preferences are not time-separable, economic agents care not only about the magnitude of fluctuations in consumption but also about the persistence and other temporal characteristics of those fluctuations. This paper extends and develops the theory of spectral utility functions, which measure utility frequency by frequency, to illustrate the interaction between consumption volatility and time-non-separable preferences. To highlight the economic implications of the interaction, spectral welfare cost functions are developed to provide a quantitative measure of the importance to economic agents of the temporal delivery of consumption volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "Spectral Welfare Cost Functions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 345-367, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:42:y:2001:i:2:p:345-67

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-1070, December.
    3. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
    4. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1997. "Inflation forecast targeting: Implementing and monitoring inflation targets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1111-1146, June.
    5. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    6. Alex Cukierman, 1992. "Central Bank Strategy, Credibility, and Independence: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262031981, January.
    7. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
    8. Laurence Ball, 1994. "What Determines the Sacrifice Ratio?," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 155-193 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Jon Faust, 1992. "Whom can we trust to run the Fed? Theoretical support for the founders' views," International Finance Discussion Papers 429, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Ben Bernanke & Frederic Mishkin, 1992. "Central Bank Behavior and the Strategy of Monetary Policy: Observations from Six Industrialized Countries," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 183-238 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lewis, Karen K, 1991. "Why Doesn't Society Minimize Central Bank Secrecy?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(3), pages 403-415, July.
    12. Levine, Paul L & Pearlman, Joseph G, 1994. "Credibility, Ambiguity and Asymmetric Information with Wage Stickiness," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 62(1), pages 21-39, March.
    13. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
    14. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-538, June.
    15. King, Mervyn, 1997. "Changes in UK monetary policy: Rules and discretion in practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 81-97, June.
    16. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1986. "Monetary mystique: Secrecy and central banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 63-92, January.
    17. McCallum, Bennett T., 1983. "On non-uniqueness in rational expectations models : An attempt at perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 139-168.
    18. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1994. "Optimal monetary policy and the sacrifice ratio," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 38, pages 43-84.
    19. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
    20. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
    21. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    22. Fischer, Stanley, 1990. "Rules versus discretion in monetary policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 1155-1184 Elsevier.
    23. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    24. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1994. "Monetary Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number greg94-1, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kalyvitis Sarantis & Panopoulou Ekaterini, 2013. "Estimating C-CAPM and the equity premium over the frequency domain," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(5), pages 551-571, December.
    2. Ionel Birgean & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Data-Driven Nonparametric Spectral Density Estimators For Economic Time Series: A Monte Carlo Study," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 449-476.
    3. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
    4. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & Nason, James M. & Rondina, Giacomo, 2007. "Simple versus optimal rules as guides to policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1372-1396, July.
    5. Otrok, Christopher & Ravikumar, B. & Whiteman, Charles H., 2002. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1261-1288, September.
    6. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2004. "Elements of a Theory of Design Limits to Optimal Policy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(s1), pages 1-18, September.
    7. Pancrazi, Roberto, 2015. "The heterogeneous Great Moderation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 207-228.
    8. Pancrazi, Roberto, 2014. "How beneficial was the Great Moderation after all?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 73-90.
    9. Beatrice PATARACCHIA, "undated". "Design-Limits in Regime-Switching cases," EcoMod2008 23800104, EcoMod.
    10. Yu, Xiangrong, 2013. "Measurement error and policy evaluation in the frequency domain," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 38(PB), pages 307-329.
    11. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & Rondina, Giacomo, 2013. "Design limits and dynamic policy analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2710-2728.
    12. Pataracchia, Beatrice, 2011. "The spectral representation of Markov switching ARMA models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 11-15, July.
    13. Roger Bowden & Jennifer Zhu, 2010. "Multi-scale variation, path risk and long-term portfolio management," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(7), pages 783-796.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:42:y:2001:i:2:p:345-67. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.