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A Model of the Federal Funds Rate Target

  • James D. Hamilton
  • Oscar Jorda

This paper is a statistical analysis of the manner in which the Federal Reserve determines the level of the federal funds rate target, one of the most publicized and anticipated economic indicators in the financial world. The paper introduces new statistical tools for forecasting a discrete-valued time series such as the target and suggests that these methods, in conjunction with a focus on the institutional details of how the target is determined, can significantly improve on standard vector autoregression forecasts of the effective federal funds rate. We further show that the news that the Fed has changed the target has statistical content substantially different from the news that the Fed failed to make an anticipated target change, causing us to challenge some of the conclusions drawn from standard linear VAR impulse-response functions.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 110 (2002)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 1135-1167

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:110:y:2002:i:5:p:1135-1167
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  1. Feinman, Joshua N, 1993. "Estimating the Open Market Desk's Daily Reaction Function," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 231-47, May.
  2. Hausman, Jerry A. & Lo, Andrew W. & MacKinlay, A. Craig, 1992. "An ordered probit analysis of transaction stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 319-379, June.
  3. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, December.
  4. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
  5. Robert F. Engle, 1996. "The Econometrics of Ultra-High Frequency Data," NBER Working Papers 5816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Evans, Charles L. & Marshall, David A., 1998. "Monetary policy and the term structure of nominal interest rates: Evidence and theory," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 53-111, December.
  7. Michael J. Dueker, 1998. "Conditional heteroskedasticity in qualitative response models of time series: a Gibbs sampling approach to the bank prime rate," Working Papers 1998-011, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  8. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 1998. "Performance of operational policy rules in an estimated semi-classical structural model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  9. Daniel L. Thornton, 1998. "The Federal Reserve's operating procedure, nonborrowed reserves, borrowed reserves and the liquidity effect," Working Papers 1998-009, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. Lunde A. & Timmermann A., 2004. "Duration Dependence in Stock Prices: An Analysis of Bull and Bear Markets," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22, pages 253-273, July.
  11. Davutyan, Nurhan & Parke, William R, 1995. "The Operations of the Bank of England, 1890-1908: A Dynamic Probit Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1099-1112, November.
  12. Alfonso Dufour & Robert F Engle, 2000. "The ACD Model: Predictability of the Time Between Concecutive Trades," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2000-05, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  13. H. Robert Heller, 1988. "Implementing monetary policy," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 419-429.
  14. Lee, Lung-fei, 1999. "Estimation of dynamic and ARCH Tobit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 355-390, October.
  15. Christopher A. Sims, 1992. "Interpreting the Macroeconomic Time Series Facts: The Effects of Monetary Policy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1011, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. repec:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:1:p:147-180 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Robert F. Engle & Jeffrey R. Russell, 1998. "Autoregressive Conditional Duration: A New Model for Irregularly Spaced Transaction Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1127-1162, September.
  18. Monika Piazzesi, 2001. "An Econometric Model of the Yield Curve with Macroeconomic Jump Effects," NBER Working Papers 8246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. McCulloch, Robert & Rossi, Peter E., 1994. "An exact likelihood analysis of the multinomial probit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 207-240.
  20. Eichengreen, Barry & Watson, Mark W & Grossman, Richard S, 1985. "Bank Rate Policy under the Interwar Gold Standard: A Dynamic Probit Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(379), pages 725-45, September.
  21. Strongin, Steven, 1995. "The identification of monetary policy disturbances explaining the liquidity puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 463-497, June.
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