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The role of model uncertainty and learning in the U.S. postwar policy response to oil prices

  • Francesca Rondina
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    This paper studies optimal monetary policy in a framework that explicitly accounts for policymakers' uncertainty about the channels of transmission of oil prices into the economy. More specifically, I examine the robust response to the real price of oil that US monetary authorities would have been recommended to implement in the period1970-2009; had they used the approach proposed by Cogley and Sargent (2005b) to incorporate model uncertainty and learning into policy decisions. In this context, I investigate the extent to which regulators'changing beliefs over di€erent models of the economy play a role in the policy selection process. The main conclusion of this work is that, in the specific environment under analysis, one of the underlying models dominates the optimal interest rate response to oil prices. This result persists even when alternative assumptions on the models'priors change the pattern of the relative posterior probabilities, and can thus be attributed to the presence of model uncertainty itself.

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    Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 478.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2015
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:478
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    1. Cogley, Timothy & de Paoli, Bianca & Matthes, Christian & Nikolov, Kalin & Yates, Tony, 2011. "A Bayesian approach to optimal monetary policy with parameter and model uncertainty," Bank of England working papers 414, Bank of England.
    2. Hamilton, James D., 1996. "This is what happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 215-220, October.
    3. Kilian, Lutz & Lewis, Logan, 2009. "Does the Fed Respond to Oil Price Shocks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7594, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. 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.
    5. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & James M. Nason & Giacomo Rondina, 2007. "Simple versus optimal rules as guides to policy," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2007-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    6. Lippi, Francesco & Nobili, Andrea, 2008. "Oil and the Macroeconomy: A Structural VAR Analysis with Sign Restrictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 6830, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Francesca Rondina, 2010. "Policy evaluation and uncertainty about the effects of oil prices on economic activity," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 855.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    8. Hamilton, James D & Herrera, Ana Maria, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 265-86, April.
    9. Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen, 2000. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman, 2008. "Time-Varying Effects of Oil Supply Shocks on the US Economy," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/515, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    11. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Herrera, Ana María & Pesavento, Elena, 2009. "Oil Price Shocks, Systematic Monetary Policy, And The “Great Moderation”," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 107-137, February.
    13. Thomas J. Sargent & Noah William, 2005. "Impacts of Priors on Convergence and Escapes from Nash Inflation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 360-391, April.
    14. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
    15. Beck, Gunter W. & Wieland, Volker, 2002. "Learning and control in a changing economic environment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(9-10), pages 1359-1377, August.
    16. Thomas J. Sargent & LarsPeter Hansen, 2001. "Robust Control and Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 60-66, May.
    17. 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, 02.
    18. Marc P. Giannoni, 2007. "Robust optimal monetary policy in a forward-looking model with parameter and shock uncertainty," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 179-213.
    19. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
    20. Robert H. Rasche & John A. Tatom, 1977. "Energy resources and potential GNP," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jun, pages 10-24.
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