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Oil shocks and optimal monetary policy

  • Carlos Montoro

In practice, central banks have been confronted with a trade-off between stabilising inflation and output when dealing with rising oil prices. This contrasts with the result in the standard New Keynesian model that ensuring complete price stability is the optimal thing to do, even when an oil shock leads to large output drops. To reconcile this apparent contradiction, this paper investigates how monetary policy should react to oil shocks in a microfounded model with staggered price-setting and with oil as an input in a CES production function. In particular, we extend Benigno and Woodford (2005) to obtain a second order approximation to the expected utility of the representative household when the steady state is distorted and the economy is hit by oil price shocks. The main result is that oil price shocks generate an endogenous trade-off between inflation and output stabilisation when oil has low substitutability in production. Therefore, it becomes optimal for the monetary authority to stabilise partially the effects of oil shocks on inflation and some inflation is desirable. We also find, in contrast to Benigno and Woodford (2005), that this trade-off is reduced, but not eliminated, when we get rid of the effects of monopolistic distortions in the steady state. Moreover, the size of the endogenous "cost-push" shock generated by fluctuations in the oil price increases when oil is more difficult to substitute by other factors.

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Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 307.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:307
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  1. P. Benigno & M. Woodford, 2003. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Drora Karotkin, 1996. "Justification of the simple majority and chairman rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 479-486.
  4. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," NBER Working Papers 10838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  6. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1996. "Imperfect Competition and the Effects of Energy Price Increases on Economic Activity," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 550-77, November.
  7. Paul Castillo & Carlos Montoro & Vicente Tuesta, 2005. "Inflation Premium and Oil Price Volatility," Macroeconomics 0512004, EconWPA, revised 31 Dec 2005.
  8. Bianca De Paoli, 2004. "Monetary Policy and Welfare in a Small Open Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0639, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  10. Leduc, Sylvain & Sill, Keith, 2004. "A quantitative analysis of oil-price shocks, systematic monetary policy, and economic downturns," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 781-808, May.
  11. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2005. "Real Wage Rigidities and the New Keynesian Model," Working Papers 243, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  12. Hamilton, James D., 2003. "What is an oil shock?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 363-398, April.
  13. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal stabilization policy when wages and prices are sticky: The case of a distorted steady state," Discussion Papers 0405-03, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  14. Bernanke, Ben S & Gertler, Mark & Watson, Mark W, 2004. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy: Reply," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 287-91, April.
  15. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy Inertia," NBER Working Papers 7261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Tack Yun, 2005. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Relative Price Distortions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 89-109, March.
  17. Kilian, Lutz, 2006. "Not All Oil Price Shocks Are Alike: Disentangling Demand and Supply Shocks in the Crude Oil Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 5994, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. In-Moo Kim & Prakash Loungani, 1991. "The role of energy in real business cycle models," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  19. Jean-Marc Natal, 2010. "Monerary Policy Response to Oil Price Shocks," Working Papers 2010-15, Swiss National Bank.
  20. 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.
  21. A. Abel, 2010. "Asset prices under habit formation and catching up with the Jones," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1395, David K. Levine.
  22. King, Robert G & Plosser, Charles I & Rebelo, Sergio T, 2002. "Production, Growth and Business Cycles: Technical Appendix," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 87-116, October.
  23. Robert E. Lucas, Jr. & N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael Woodford, 2005. "Panel discussion: understanding price determination: where are we now? where should we be going?," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
  25. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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