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Discretion Rather Than Rules? When Is Discretionary Policymaking Better Than the Timeless Perspective?

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  • Stephan Sauer

    (European Central Bank)

Abstract

Discretionary monetary policy produces a dynamic loss in the New Keynesian model in the presence of cost-push shocks. The possibility to commit to a specific policy rule can increase welfare. A number of authors since Woodford (1999) have argued in favor of a timeless-perspective rule as an optimal policy. The short-run costs associated with the timeless perspective are neglected in general, however. Rigid prices, relatively impatient households, a high preference of policymakers for output stabilization, and a deviation from the steady state all worsen the performance of the timeless-perspective rule and can make it inferior to discretion.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Sauer, 2010. "Discretion Rather Than Rules? When Is Discretionary Policymaking Better Than the Timeless Perspective?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 6(2), pages 1-29, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2010:q:2:a:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Introduction to "Monetary Policy Rules"," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carl E. Walsh, 2003. "Monetary Theory and Policy, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232316, January.
    4. John B. Taylor, 1999. "A Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 319-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jensen, Christian & McCallum, Bennett T., 2002. "The non-optimality of proposed monetary policy rules under timeless perspective commitment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 163-168, October.
    6. Kuester, Keith & Müller, Gernot J. & Stölting, Sarah, 2009. "Is the New Keynesian Phillips curve flat?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 39-41, April.
    7. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, April.
    8. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paez-Farrell, Juan, 2011. "Timeless perspective versus discretionary policymaking when the degree of inflation persistence is unknown," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 2432-2438.
    2. Petrella, Ivan & Rossi, Raffaele & Santoro, Emiliano, 2014. "Discretion vs. timeless perspective under model-consistent stabilization objectives," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 84-88.
    3. Bask, Mikael & Proaño, Christian R., 2016. "Optimal monetary policy under learning and structural uncertainty in a New Keynesian model with a cost channel and inflation inertia," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 112-126.
    4. Marcelo de C. Griebeler & Ronald Otto Hillbrecht, 2014. "Convexity of the central bank's loss function and dependence between monetary instruments," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(4), pages 2275-2291.
    5. Sunakawa, Takeki, 2015. "A quantitative analysis of optimal sustainable monetary policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 119-135.
    6. Azar HASANLI, 2016. "A New Era of Monetary Policymaking in the Light of the Post-Crisis Challenges," Turkish Economic Review, KSP Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 473-494, September.
    7. Paez-Farrell, Juan, 2012. "Should central bankers discount the future? A note," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 20-22.
    8. Bask, Mikael & Proaño, Christian R, 2012. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Learning in a New Keynesian Model with Cost Channel and Inflation Inertia," Working Paper Series 2012:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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