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Real Interest Rates and Central Bank Operating Procedures

  • Canzoneri, Matthew B
  • Dellas, Harris

In the years following the influential article of Poole (1970), many central banks reoriented their operating procedures to focus more on interest rates and less on monetary aggregates. The rapid restructuring of global financial markets was thought to have led to instability in standard monetary relationships, and Poole's basic insight suggested that a central bank would have better control of the price level if it targeted nominal interest rates instead of monetary aggregates. At the same time, there is a common perception that real interest rates have risen. This paper uses general equilibrium models to suggest that the switch in operating procedures may have caused a bias towards higher real interest rates and (rather perversely) less stable prices. Our model calibrations imply that US real interest rates might be 50 to 100 basis points lower, and prices might be 30-40% more stable, if the Fed switched its focus away from the nominal interest rate and targeted M1 instead. (These estimates assume a coefficient of relative risk aversion between 2.5 and 3.5.) Nominal income targeting would be a good compromise.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1099.

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Date of creation: Jan 1995
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1099
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  1. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1992. "Global Versus Country-Specific Productivity Shocks and the Current Account," NBER Working Papers 4140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. S. Grossman & R. Shiller, . "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Price," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 18-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  7. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Henderson, Dale W & Rogoff, Kenneth S, 1983. "The Information Content of the Interest Rate and Optimal Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 545-66, November.
  8. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1996. "A Scorecard for Indexed Government Debt," NBER Working Papers 5587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. 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.
  11. Carlstrom, Charles T. & Fuerst, Timothy S., 1995. "Interest rate rules vs. money growth rules a welfare comparison in a cash-in-advance economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 247-267, November.
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  13. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Dellas, Harris, 1996. " Monetary Integration in Europe: Implications for Real Interest Rates and Stock Markets," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(4), pages 541-47, December.
  14. Anonymous, 1994. "Monetary Policy Statement, December 1994," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 57, December.
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