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Caution and gradualism in monetary policy under uncertainty

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  • Ben Martin

Abstract

This paper explores the theoretical implication of parameter uncertainty for the optimal monetary policy reaction function. The policy-maker sets the nominal interest rate to meet an inflation target in a simple dynamic model of the economy. The paper looks at how parameter uncertainty in the transmission mechanism affects the optimal nominal and real interest rate relative to the case when the parameters are known. Its chief contribution is to show that three consequences are identified: conservatism (smaller deviations of real and nominal interest rates from some neutral level in response to inflationary shocks), gradualism (increased autocorrelation in real and nominal interest rates) and caution (a smaller cumulative policy response). The paper examines the sensitivity of these effects to different specifications of the transmission mechanism; in particular the introduction of an exchange rate channel. The paper also considers situations in which a more aggressive response may be called for.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Martin, 1999. "Caution and gradualism in monetary policy under uncertainty," Bank of England working papers 105, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:105
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    File URL: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/workingpapers/1999/wp105.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Svensson, Lars E. O., 2000. "Open-economy inflation targeting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 155-183, February.
    2. Geoffrey Shuetrim & Christopher Thompson, 2003. "The Implications of Uncertainty for Monetary Policy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(246), pages 370-379, September.
    3. Glenn Rudebusch & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 203-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1997. "Inflation forecast targeting: Implementing and monitoring inflation targets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1111-1146, June.
    5. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1991. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 7-30, January.
    6. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    7. Ben Martin & Chris Salmon, 1999. "Should uncertain monetary policy-makers do less?," Bank of England working papers 99, Bank of England.
    8. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. " Inflation Targeting: Some Extensions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(3), pages 337-361, September.
    9. Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James H., 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty In A Small Model Of The U.S. Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 85-110, February.
    10. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1998. "Policy rules and targets: framing the central banker's problem," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 1-14.
    11. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-1176, December.
    12. Brian P. Sack, 1998. "Does the Fed act gradually? a VAR analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ben Martin & Chris Salmon, 1999. "Should uncertain monetary policy-makers do less?," Bank of England working papers 99, Bank of England.
    2. Nicolas Pinkwart, 2010. "Uncertainty About the Persistence of Inflation," Working Papers 091, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    3. Marc-Alexandre Sénégas, 2002. "La politique monétaire face à l'incertitude : un survol méthodologique des contributions relatives à la zone euro," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 65(1), pages 177-200.
    4. Chen, Shu-hua & Shaw, Ming-fu & Lai, Ching-chong & Chang, Juin-jen, 2008. "Interest-rate rules and transitional dynamics in an endogenously growing open economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 54-75, February.
    5. Olalla, Myriam García & Gómez, Alejandro Ruiz, 2011. "Robust control and central banking behaviour," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 1265-1278, May.

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