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Imperfect Knowledge And The Pitfalls Of Optimal Control Monetary Policy

  • Athanasios Orphanides
  • John C. Williams

This paper examines the robustness characteristics of optimal control policies derived under the assumption of rational expectations to alternative models of expectations formation and uncertainty about the natural rates of interest and unemployment. We assume that agents have imperfect knowledge about the precise structure of the economy and form expectations using a forecasting model that they continuously update based on incoming data. We also allow for central bank uncertainty regarding the natural rates of interest and unemployment. We find that the optimal control policy derived under the assumption of rational expectations performs rather poorly when agents learn. These problems are exacerbated by natural rate uncertainty, even

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 499.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:499
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  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Andrew T. Levin & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Working Paper Series 2003-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 2003. "The Performance of Forecast-Based Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 622-645, June.
  4. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation Targeting Under Imperfect Knowledge," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 398, Central Bank of Chile.
  5. Robert J. Tetlow, 2010. "Real-time model uncertainty in the United States: 'Robust' policies put to the test," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Clark, Todd E. & Kozicki, Sharon, 2004. "Estimating equilibrium real interest rates in real-time," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2004,32, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  7. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  8. 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.).
  9. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  10. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Inflation Targeting Rules," NBER Working Papers 9939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios & Porter, Richard D. & Reifschneider, David & Tetlow, Robert & Finan, Frederico, 2000. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 117-141.
  12. 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.
  13. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
  15. Ann-Charlotte Eliasson & Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," IMF Working Papers 99/75, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Milton Friedman, 1947. "Lerner on the Economics of Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 405.
  17. Thomas J Sargent, 2007. "Evolution and Intelligent Design," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001821, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  19. Thomas Laubach, 2001. "Measuring The NAIRU: Evidence From Seven Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 218-231, May.
  20. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  21. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  22. Wiliam Branch & George W. Evans, 2005. "A Simple Recursive Forecasting Model," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2005-3, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Feb 2005.
  23. Lars O. Svensson & Robert J. Tetlow, 2005. "Optimal Policy Projections," NBER Working Papers 11392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Working Papers 050608, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  25. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 2003. "Endogenous Monetary Policy with Unobserved Potential Output," CEPR Discussion Papers 3763, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
  27. Taylor, John B., 1999. "The robustness and efficiency of monetary policy rules as guidelines for interest rate setting by the European central bank," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 655-679, June.
  28. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1063-1070, November.
  29. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 6570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Gaspar, Vítor & Smets, Frank & Vestin, David, 2006. "Adaptive learning, persistence, and optimal monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0644, European Central Bank.
  31. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Williams, Noah, 2005. "Monetary policy with model uncertainty: distribution forecast targeting," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,35, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  32. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Tapia, Matias, 2002. "Inflation targeting in Chile," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 125-146, August.
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