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Real-Time Model Uncertainty in the United States: "Robust" Policies Put to the Test

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  • Robert J. Tetlow

    (Division of Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

I study forty-six vintages of FRB/US, the principal macro model used by the Federal Reserve, as measures of real-time model uncertainty and examine the robustness of commonly applied, simple monetary policy rules. Model uncertainty turns out to be a substantial problem: key model properties differ in important ways across model vintages, as do the optimized parameterizations of candidate rules. Among the simple monetary policy rules considered are rules that eschew feedback on the output gap, rules that target nominal income growth, and rules that allow for time variation in the equilibrium real interest rate. Many rules that previous research has shown to be robust in artificial economies would have failed to provide adequate stabilization in the real-time, realworld environment seen by the Federal Reserve staff. I identify certain policy rules that would have performed relatively well, and characterize their key features to draw more general lessons about the design of monetary policy under model uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Tetlow, 2015. "Real-Time Model Uncertainty in the United States: "Robust" Policies Put to the Test," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(2), pages 113-155, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2015:q:2:a:4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2012. "Fiscal Policy in Real Time," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 440-465, June.
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    4. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2002. "Assessing Nominal Income Rules for Monetary Policy with Model and Data Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 402-432, April.
    5. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
    6. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
    7. Kimura, Takeshi & Kurozumi, Takushi, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy in a micro-founded model with parameter uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 399-431, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2008. "Learning, expectations formation, and the pitfalls of optimal control monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(Supplemen), pages 80-96, October.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2009. "Imperfect Knowledge and the Pitfalls of Optimal Control Monetary Policy," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.),Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning, edition 1, volume 13, chapter 4, pages 115-144, Central Bank of Chile.
    3. Szabolcs Deák & Paul Levine & Afrasiab Mirza & Joseph Pearlman, 2019. "Designing Robust Monetary Policy Using Prediction Pools," School of Economics Discussion Papers 1219, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    4. Anastasios G. Karantounias, 2020. "Doubts about the Model and Optimal Policy," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2020-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2013. "Monetary Policy Mistakes and the Evolution of Inflation Expectations," NBER Chapters, in: The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking, pages 255-288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John C. Williams, 2016. "Rules of engagement," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. Richard K. Crump & Stefano Eusepi & Domenico Giannone & Eric Qian & Argia M. Sbordone, 2021. "A Large Bayesian VAR of the United States Economy," Staff Reports 976, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    8. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Papell, David H. & Prodan, Ruxandra, 2017. "The Yellen rules," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 54(PA), pages 59-71.
    9. Anastasios G. Karantounias, 2020. "Model Uncertainty and Policy Design," Policy Hub 2020-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Ironside, Brian & Tetlow, Robert J., 2005. "Real-Time Model Uncertainty in the United States: the Fed from 1996-2003," CEPR Discussion Papers 5305, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Szabolcs Deak & Paul Levine & Afrasiab Mirza & Joseph Pearlman, 2020. "Is Price Level Targeting a Robust Monetary Rule?," Discussion Papers 20-27, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    12. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Papell, David H. & Prodan, Ruxandra, 2021. "Policy Rules and Economic Performance," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling

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