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The policy preferences of the US Federal Reserve

  • Richard Dennis

    (Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA)

In this paper we model and explain US macroeconomic outcomes subject to the discipline that monetary policy is set optimally. Exploiting the restrictions that come from optimal policymaking, we estimate the parameters in the Federal Reserve's policy objective function together with the parameters in its optimization constraints. For the period following Volcker's appointment as chairman, we estimate the implicit inflation target to be around 1.4% and show that policymakers assigned a significant weight to interest rate smoothing. We show that the estimated optimal policy provides a good description of US data for the 1980s and 1990s. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jae.808
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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca:80/jae/2006-v21.1/
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 21 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 55-77

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Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:21:y:2006:i:1:p:55-77
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  1. Richard Dennis, 2003. "Inferring policy objectives from economic outcomes," Working Paper Series 2003-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Rudebusch , Glenn, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Seminar Papers 637, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard Dennis, 2000. "Solving for optimal simple rules in rational expectations models," Working Paper Series 2000-14, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 6570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Introduction to "Monetary Policy Rules"," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  8. Alex Cukierman, 1989. "Why does the Fed smooth interest rates?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, pages 111-157.
  9. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Working Paper Series 2001-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Lars E O Svensson, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," Bank of England working papers 56, Bank of England.
  11. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1.
  12. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
  13. Salemi, Michael K, 1995. "Revealed Preference of the Federal Reserve: Using Inverse-Control Theory to Interpret the Policy Equation of a Vector Autoregression," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(4), pages 419-33, October.
  14. Arturo Extrella & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1998. "Dynamic inconsistencies: counterfactual implications of a class of rational expectations models," Working Papers 98-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  15. John B. Taylor, 1998. "An Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 445-462, August.
  17. Soderlind, Paul, 1999. "Solution and estimation of RE macromodels with optimal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 813-823, April.
  18. Brian P. Sack & Volker W. Wieland, 1999. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-39, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Marvin Goodfriend, 1990. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Working Paper 90-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  20. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Stochastic trends and economic fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  21. Efrem Castelnuovo & Paolo Surico, 2004. "Model Uncertainty, Optimal Monetary Policy and the Preferences of the Fed," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(1), pages 105-126, 02.
  22. Ann-Charlotte Eliasson & Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," IMF Working Papers 99/75, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Carlo A. Favero, . "Macroeconomic stability and the preferences of the Fed. A formal analysis, 1961-98," Working Papers 200, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  24. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Moore, George R, 1995. "Monetary Policy Trade-offs and the Correlation between Nominal Interest Rates and Real Output," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 219-39, March.
  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. 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.
  27. Bennett T. McCallum, 1994. "Monetary Policy and the Term Structure of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 4938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Ozlale, Umit, 2003. "Price stability vs. output stability: tales of federal reserve administrations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1595-1610, July.
  29. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
  30. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
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