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Instrument Versus Target Rules As Specifications of Optimal Monetary Policy: What are the Issues, If Any?




One issue in the literature on monetary policy in New Keynesian models has been the relative merits of instrument versus target rules. This paper focuses on optimal instrument and target rules within three workhorse models in the literature: IS-LM, AS-AD and the New Keynesian model. The focus on optimal rules enables us to exploit the equivalence among alternative expressions of optimal policies for a given information set. We find that in the AD-AS model, characterized by the presence of observable information variables and unobservable target variables, an optimal explicit instrument rule, a combination policy, and a target rule produce identical outcomes for the target variables. In the New Keynesian model, the optimal explicit instrument rule achieves the same stabilization results as the globally optimal target rule. However, the latter approach provides a more direct rationale for introducing inertia into policymaking. This seems to be the key advantage of the target rule approach. Along other dimensions such as robustness and transparency, target rules offer no clear advantages over optimal instrument rules.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard T. Froyen & Alfred Guender, 2011. "Instrument Versus Target Rules As Specifications of Optimal Monetary Policy: What are the Issues, If Any?," Working Papers in Economics 11/20, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:11/20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bennett T. McCallum, 2002. "Recent developments in monetary policy analysis: the roles of theory and evidence," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 67-96.
    2. LeRoy, Stephen F & Waud, Roger N, 1977. "Applications of the Kalman Filter in Short-Run Monetary Control," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 18(1), pages 195-207, February.
    3. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2005. "Targeting versus instrument rules for monetary policy," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 225-245.
    4. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2004. "Timeless perspective vs. discretionary monetary policy in forward-looking models," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 43-56.
    5. Alfred V. Guender, 2006. "Stabilising Properties of Discretionary Monetary Policies in a Small Open Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 309-326, January.
    6. Richard T. Froyen & Alfred V. Guender, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Uncertainty," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12510.
    7. Weiss, Laurence M, 1980. "The Role for Active Monetary Policy in a Rational Expectations Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 221-233, April.
    8. Ravenna, Federico & Walsh, Carl E., 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with the cost channel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 199-216, March.
    9. William Poole, 1970. "Optimal Choice of Monetary Policy Instruments in a Simple Stochastic Macro Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 197-216.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alfred Guender, 2011. "CPI Inflation Targeting and the UIP Puzzle: An Appraisal of Instrument and Target Rules," Working Papers in Economics 11/18, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.

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    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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