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Designing a Simple Loss Function for Central Banks: Does a Dual Mandate Make Sense?

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  • Davide Debortoli
  • Jinill Kim
  • Jesper Lindé
  • Ricardo Nunes

Abstract

Yes, a dual mandate makes a lot of sense. This article studies how to design simple loss functions for central banks, as parsimonious approximations to social welfare. We show, both analytically and quantitatively, that simple loss functions should feature a high weight on measures of economic activity, sometimes even larger than the weight on inflation. Two main factors drive our result. First, stabilising economic activity also stabilises other welfare-relevant variables. Second, the estimated model features mitigated inflation distortions due to a low elasticity of substitution between monopolistic goods and a low interest rate sensitivity of demand. The result holds up in the presence of measurement errors, with large shocks that generate a trade-off between stabilising inflation and resource utilisation, and also when imposing a moderate degree of interest rate volatility.

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  • Davide Debortoli & Jinill Kim & Jesper Lindé & Ricardo Nunes, 2019. "Designing a Simple Loss Function for Central Banks: Does a Dual Mandate Make Sense?," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(621), pages 2010-2038.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:129:y:2019:i:621:p:2010-2038.
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    6. Binder, Michael & Lieberknecht, Philipp & Quintana, Jorge & Wieland, Volker, 2018. "Robust Macroprudential Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181503, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Maciej Ryczkowski, 2021. "Money and inflation in inflation-targeting regimes – new evidence from time–frequency analysis," Journal of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 17-44, January.
    8. Lama, Ruy & Medina, Juan Pablo, 2020. "Mundell meets Poole: Managing capital flows with multiple instruments in emerging economies," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    9. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Alper, Koray & Pereira da Silva, Luiz, 2018. "External shocks, financial volatility and reserve requirements in an open economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 23-43.
    10. Lazopoulos, Ioannis & Gabriel, Vasco, 2019. "Policy mandates and institutional architecture," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 122-134.
    11. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Jia, Pengfei, 2020. "Capital controls and welfare with cross-border bank capital flows," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    12. Pierre-Richard Agénor & Timothy P. Jackson & Luiz Pereira da Silva, 2020. "Cross-Border Regulatory Spillovers and Macroprudential Policy Coordination," Working Papers 202028, University of Liverpool, Department of Economics.
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    14. Hasui, Kohei & Kobayashi, Teruyoshi & Sugo, Tomohiro, 2021. "Optimal irreversible monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
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    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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