IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Revealing the preferences of the US Federal Reserve

We use Bayesian methods to estimate the preferences of the US Federal Reserve by assuming that monetary policy is performed optimally under commitment since the mid-sixties. For this purpose, we distinguish between three subperiods, i.e. the pre-Volcker, the Volcker-Greenspan and the Greenspan period. The US economy is described by the Smets and Wouters (2007) model. We find that there has been a switch in the monetary policy regime since Volcker, with a focus on output growth instead of the output gap level as a target variable. We further show that both interest rate variability and interest rate smoothing are significant target variables, though less important than the in‡ation and output growth targets. We find that the "Great Moderation" of output growth is largely explained by the decrease in the volatility of the structural shocks. The Inflation Stabilization, however, is mainly due to the change in monetary policy that took place at the start of Volcker's mandate. During the Greenspan period, the optimal Taylor rule appears to be equally robust to parameter uncertainty as the unrestricted optimal commitment rule.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Norges Bank in its series Working Paper with number 2008/21.

in new window

Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
Date of revision: 12 Dec 2008
Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2008_21
Contact details of provider: Postal: Postboks 1179 Sentrum, 0107 Oslo
Phone: +47 22 31 60 00
Fax: +47 22 41 31 05
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Andrew Levin & Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson, 1999. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Staggered Wage and Price Contracts," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1151, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. An, Sungbae & Schorfheide, Frank, 2005. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 5207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & Richard D. Porter & David L. Reifschneider & Robert J. 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.).
  4. Peter N. Ireland, 1999. "A method for taking models to the data," Working Paper 9903, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Richard Dennis, 2001. "Optimal policy in rational-expectations models: new solution algorithms," Working Paper Series 2001-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Ozlale, Umit, 2003. "Price stability vs. output stability: tales of federal reserve administrations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1595-1610, July.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the business cycle changed?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 9-56.
  8. Salemi, Michael K., 2006. "Econometric Policy Evaluation and Inverse Control," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1737-1764, October.
  9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  11. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2003. "Monetary Policy and Real Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 9486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Optimal Monetary Policy Inertia," Seminar Papers 666, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  13. Frank Schorfheide, 2000. "Loss function-based evaluation of DSGE models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 645-670.
  14. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John C. Williams & Noah Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy under uncertainty in micro-founded macroeconometric models," Working Paper Series 2005-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  15. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393 Elsevier.
  16. Giannone, Domenico & Lenza, Michele & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2008. "Explaining the Great Moderation: it is not the shocks," Working Paper Series 0865, European Central Bank.
  17. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2005. "Monetary policy inertia: fact or fiction?," Working Paper Series 2005-19, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  18. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
  19. Svensson, Lars E O, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," CEPR Discussion Papers 1998, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Marco Del Negro & Frank Schorfheide, 2006. "Forming priors for DSGE models (and how it affects the assessment of nominal rigidities)," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  21. Carl Walsh, 2001. "Speed Limit Policies: The Output Gap and Optimal Monetary Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 609, CESifo Group Munich.
  22. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2003. "What is Wrong with Taylor Rules? Using Judgment in Monetary Policy through Targeting Rules," NBER Working Papers 9421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Sungbae An & Frank Schorfheide, 2007. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models—Rejoinder," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 211-219.
  24. Sack, Brian & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 205-228.
  25. John C. Williams, 1999. "Simple rules for monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  26. Richard Dennis, 2003. "Inferring policy objectives from economic outcomes," Working Paper Series 2003-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  27. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 6112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Michel Juillard & Florian Pelgrin, 2007. "Computing Optimal Policy in a Timeless-Perspective: An Application to a Small-Open Economy," Staff Working Papers 07-32, Bank of Canada.
  29. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Richard Dennis, 2001. "The policy preferences of the U.S. Federal Reserve," Working Paper Series 2001-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  31. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2005. "Bayesian New Neoclassical Synthesis (NNS) Models: Modern Tools for Central Banks," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 422-433, 04/05.
  32. Givens, Gregory E. & Salemi, Michael K., 2008. "Generalized method of moments and inverse control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 3113-3147, October.
  33. Walsh, Carl E., 2005. "Parameter misspecification and robust monetary policy rules," Working Paper Series 0477, European Central Bank.
  34. Söderlind, Paul, 1998. "Solution and Estimation of RE Macromodels with Optimal Policy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 256, Stockholm School of Economics.
  35. Richard Dennis, 2000. "Steps toward identifying central bank policy preferences," Working Paper Series 2000-13, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  36. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  37. Pelin Ilbas, 2008. "Estimation of monetary policy preferences in a forward-looking model : a Bayesian approach," Working Paper Research 129, National Bank of Belgium.
  38. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "Interest Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 57-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2008_21. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.