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Limited Commitment, Endogenous Credibility and the Challenges of Price-level Targeting

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  • Gino Cateau
  • Malik Shukayev

Abstract

This paper studies the cost of limited commitment when a central bank has the discretion to adjust policy whenever the costs of honoring its past commitments become high. Specifically, we consider a central bank that seeks to implement optimal policy in a New Keynesian model by committing to a price-level target path. However, the central bank retains the flexibility to reset the target path if the cost of adhering to it exceeds a social tolerance threshold. We find that endowing the central bank with such discretion undermines the credibility of the price-level target and weakens its effectiveness to stabilize the economy through expectations. The endogenous nature of credibility also brings novel results relative to models with exogenous timing of target resets. A much higher degree of credibility is needed to realize the stabilization benefits of commitment. Multiple equilibria also emerge, including a low credibility equilibrium with frequent target resets and high volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Gino Cateau & Malik Shukayev, 2018. "Limited Commitment, Endogenous Credibility and the Challenges of Price-level Targeting," Staff Working Papers 18-61, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:18-61
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Waki, Yuichiro & Dennis, Richard & Fujiwara, Ippei, 2018. "The optimal degree of monetary-discretion in a New Keynesian model with private information," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 13(3), September.
    2. Jordi Galí, 2008. "Introduction to Monetary Policy, Inflation, and the Business Cycle: An Introduction to the New Keynesian Framework," Introductory Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, Inflation, and the Business Cycle: An Introduction to the New Keynesian Framework, Princeton University Press.
    3. Paul R. Masson & Malik D. Shukayev, 2019. "Are Bygones Not Bygones? Modeling Price-Level Targeting with an Escape Clause and Lessons from the Gold Standard," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Macroeconomic Modelling and Monetary and Exchange Rate Regimes, chapter 11, pages 385-417, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Schaumburg, Ernst & Tambalotti, Andrea, 2007. "An investigation of the gains from commitment in monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 302-324, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roulleau-Pasdeloup, Jordan, 2020. "Optimal monetary policy and determinacy under active/passive regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credibility; Inflation targets; Monetary policy framework;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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