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Imperfect Knowledge and the Pitfalls of Optimal Control Monetary Policy

In: Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning

  • Athanasios Orphanides

    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • John C. Williams

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

This paper examines the robustness characteristics of optimal control policies derived under the assumption of rational expectations to alternative models of expectations formation and uncertainty about the natural rates of interest and unemployment. We assume that agents have imperfect knowledge about the precise structure of the economy and form expectations using a forecasting model that they continuously update based on incoming data. We also allow for central bank uncertainty regarding the natural rates of interest and unemployment. We find that the optimal control policy derived under the assumption of rational expectations performs rather poorly when agents learn. These problems are exacerbated by natural rate uncertainty, even

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This chapter was published in: Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Carl E. Walsh & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.) Monetary Policy under Uncertainty and Learning, , chapter 4, pages 115-144, 2009.
This item is provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series with number v13c04pp115-144.
Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v13c04pp115-144
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  6. Gaspar, VĂ­tor & Smets, Frank & Vestin, David, 2006. "Adaptive learning, persistence, and optimal monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0644, European Central Bank.
  7. Williams, John C. & Levin, Andrew T. & Wieland, Volker, 2001. "The performance of forecast-based monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0068, European Central Bank.
  8. Athanasios Orphanides & Richard D. Porter & David Reifschneider & Robert Tetlow & Frederico Finan, 1999. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Lars Svensson & Noah Williams, 2005. "Monetary Policy with Model Uncertainty: Distribution Forecast Targeting," NBER Working Papers 11733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2003. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/40, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  12. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  13. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Working Paper Series 0012, European Central Bank.
  14. Thomas Laubach and John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 35, Society for Computational Economics.
  15. Thomas Laubach, 1997. "Measuring the NAIRU : evidence from seven economies," Research Working Paper 97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  16. Levin, Andrew T. & Williams, John C., 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 945-975, July.
  17. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
  18. Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton & Ann-Charlotte Eliasson, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 537-577, November.
  19. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & West, Kenneth D., 2007. "Model uncertainty and policy evaluation: Some theory and empirics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 629-664, February.
  20. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  21. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Inflation Targeting Rules," NBER Working Papers 9939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  23. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of simple monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. Clark, Todd E. & Kozicki, Sharon, 2004. "Estimating equilibrium real interest rates in real-time," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2004,32, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  25. Branch, William A. & Evans, George W., 2006. "A simple recursive forecasting model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 158-166, May.
  26. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation Targeting Under Imperfect Knowledge," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 398, Central Bank of Chile.
  27. Thomas J Sargent, 2007. "Evolution and Intelligent Design," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001821, UCLA Department of Economics.
  28. Milton Friedman, 1947. "Lerner on the Economics of Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 405.
  29. Taylor, John B., 1998. "The Robustness and Efficiency of Monetary Policy Rules as Guidelines for Interest Rate Setting by the European Central Bank," Seminar Papers 649, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  30. Robert J. Tetlow, 2010. "Real-time model uncertainty in the United States: 'Robust' policies put to the test," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  31. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Tapia, Matias, 2002. "Inflation targeting in Chile," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 125-146, August.
  32. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
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