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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. 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.
  2. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Inflation targeting under imperfect knowledge," Working Paper Series 2006-14, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 1999. "The Reliability of Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Macroeconomics 9907006, EconWPA.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Lars E. O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Gaspar, Vítor & Smets, Frank & Vestin, David, 2006. "Adaptive learning, persistence, and optimal monetary policy," Working Paper Series 0644, European Central Bank.
  10. Levin, Andrew & Wieland, Volker & Williams, John C., 2003. "The performance of forecast-based monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/06, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  11. 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.
  12. Cukierman, Alex & Lippi, Francesco, 2005. "Endogenous monetary policy with unobserved potential output," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1951-1983, November.
  13. Fabio Milani, 2005. "Expectations, Learning and Macroeconomic Persistence," Working Papers 050608, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  14. 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.).
  15. Andrew T.. Levin & Volker Wieland & John Williams, 1999. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 263-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
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  18. 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.).
  19. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & Kenneth D. West, 2004. "Model Uncertainty and Policy Evaluation: Some Theory and Empirics," NBER Working Papers 10916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Milton Friedman, 1947. "Lerner on the Economics of Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 405.
  21. 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.
  22. Lars E.O. Svensson & Robert J. Tetlow, 2005. "Optimal Policy Projections," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(3), December.
  23. Marc Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Inflation-Targeting Rules," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 93-172 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Levin, Andrew T. & Williams, John C., 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 945-975, July.
  25. 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.
  26. John C. Williams, 2003. "Simple rules for monetary policy," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 1-12.
  27. 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.
  28. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 63-146.
  29. 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.
  30. Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton & Ann-Charlotte Eliasson, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 841, Society for Computational Economics.
  31. 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.
  32. Thomas J Sargent, 2007. "Evolution and Intelligent Design," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001821, UCLA Department of Economics.
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