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Benefits from U.S. Monetary Policy Experimentation in the Days of Samuelson and Solow and Lucas

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  • TIMOTHY COGLEY
  • RICCARDO COLACITO
  • THOMAS J. SARGENT

Abstract

A policy maker knows two models. One implies an exploitable inflation-unemployment trade-off, the other does not. The policy maker's prior probability over the two models is part of his state vector. Bayes' law converts the prior probability into a posterior probability and gives the policy maker an incentive to experiment. For models calibrated to U.S. data through the early 1960s, we compare the outcomes from two Bellman equations. The first tells the policy maker to "experiment and learn." The second tells him to "learn but don't experiment." In this way, we isolate a component of government policy that is due to experimentation and estimate the benefits from intentional experimentation. We interpret the Bellman equation that learns but does not intentionally experiment as an "anticipated utility" model and study how well its outcomes approximate those from the "experiment and learn" Bellman equation. The approximation is good. For our calibrations, the benefits from purposeful experimentation are small because random shocks are big enough to provide ample unintentional experimentation. Copyright 2007 The Ohio State University.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Cogley & Riccardo Colacito & Thomas J. Sargent, 2007. "Benefits from U.S. Monetary Policy Experimentation in the Days of Samuelson and Solow and Lucas," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 67-99, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:39:y:2007:i:s1:p:67-99
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    Cited by:

    1. In-Koo Cho & Kenneth Kasa, 2015. "Learning and Model Validation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 45-82.
    2. Lars Svensson & Noah Williams, 2005. "Monetary Policy with Model Uncertainty: Distribution Forecast Targeting," NBER Working Papers 11733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rondina, Francesca, 2012. "The role of model uncertainty and learning in the US postwar policy response to oil prices," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1009-1041.
    4. Kabundi, Alain & Schaling, Eric & Some, Modeste, 2015. "Monetary policy and heterogeneous inflation expectations in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 109-117.
    5. Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh, 2009. "Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning: An Overview," 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 1, pages 001-025 Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Volker Wieland, 2009. "Learning, Endogenous Indexation, and Disinflation in the New-Keynesian Model," 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 11, pages 413-450 Central Bank of Chile.
    7. Svensson, Lars E.O., 2010. "Inflation Targeting," Handbook of Monetary Economics,in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1237-1302 Elsevier.
    8. Richard Ashley & Kwok Ping Tsang & Randal J. Verbrugge, 2010. "Frequency Dependence in a Real-Time Monetary Policy Rule," Working Papers e07-21, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics.
    9. Canova, Fabio & Sala, Luca, 2009. "Back to square one: Identification issues in DSGE models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 431-449, May.
    10. Luo, Yulei & Nie, Jun & Young, Eric R., 2014. "Model uncertainty and intertemporal tax smoothing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 289-314.
    11. Cogley, Timothy & De Paoli, Bianca & Matthes, Christian & Nikolov, Kalin & Yates, Tony, 2011. "A Bayesian approach to optimal monetary policy with parameter and model uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2186-2212.
    12. Francesca Rondina, 2017. "Model Uncertainty and the Direction of Fit of the Postwar U.S. Phillips Curve(s)," Working Papers 1702E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    13. Tesfaselassie, M.F. & Schaling, E., 2010. "Managing disinflation under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2568-2577, December.
    14. Canova, Fabio & Sala, Luca, 2006. "Back to square one: identification issues in DSGE models," Working Paper Series 583, European Central Bank.
    15. Zhu, Hongwei & Siegel, Michael & Madnick, Stuart, 2008. "Enabling Global Price Comparison through Semantic Integration of Web Data," Working papers 40084, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    16. Ellison, Martin & Yates, Tony, 2007. "Escaping Nash and Volatile Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6483, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Hollmayr, Josef & Matthes, Christian, 2015. "Learning about fiscal policy and the effects of policy uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 142-162.
    18. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Williams, Noah, 2006. "Bayesian and adaptive optimal policy under model uncertainty," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/11, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    19. Alina Barnett & Martin Ellison, 2013. "Learning by Disinflating," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(4), pages 731-746, June.
    20. Timothy Cogley, 2008. "Commentary on "Optimal monetary policy under uncertainty: a Markov jump-linear-quadratic approach"," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 295-300.
    21. Bigio, Saki, 2010. "Learning under fear of floating," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1923-1950, October.
    22. Williams, Noah, 2012. "Monetary policy under financial uncertainty," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(5), pages 449-465.
    23. Lars E. O. Svensson & Noah Williams, 2008. "Optimal monetary policy under uncertainty: a Markov jump-linear-quadratic approach," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 275-294.
    24. Alain Kabundi & Eric Schaling, 2013. "Inflation and Inflation Expectations in South Africa: an Attempt at Explanation," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(3), pages 346-355, September.
    25. Eric Schaling & Marco Hoeberichts, 2010. "Why Speed Doesn’t Kill: Learning to Believe in Disinflation," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 23-42, April.

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