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Optimal Monetary Policy using a VAR

Listed author(s):
  • Polito, Vito
  • Wickens, Michael R.

In this paper we propose a new way to formulate optimal policy based on a quadratic intertemporal welfare function where the dynamic constraint is based on a VAR model of the economy which we call the PVAR method. We argue that the VAR under control should not be derived simply by replacing the VAR equation for the policy instruments by an optimal control rule because this alters the stochastic structure of the VAR. Instead, one should first transform the VAR in order to condition the non-policy variables on the policy instruments, then use the resulting sub-system as the dynamic constraint, and finally construct the VAR under control by combining this sub-system with the resulting optimal policy rule. In this way the original stochastic structure of the VAR is retained. In comparing the two approaches we explain the theoretical advantages of the PVAR over the standard method and we illustrate the methods by examining the formulation of optimal monetary policy for the US. We suggest that since the whole process is easily automated, the PVAR method may provide a useful benchmark for use in real time against which to compare other, probably far more labour intensive, policy choices.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6957.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6957
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  7. Ben Martin & Chris Salmon, 1999. "Should uncertain monetary policy-makers do less?," Bank of England working papers 99, Bank of England.
  8. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Sack, Brian & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 205-228.
  11. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
  12. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-921, September.
  13. John B. Taylor, 1995. "Monetary policy implications of greater fiscal discipline," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 151-170.
  14. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2003. "What Is Wrong with Taylor Rules? Using Judgment in Monetary Policy through Targeting Rules," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 426-477, June.
  15. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 907-931, November.
  16. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  17. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 101-115, Fall.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  19. Michael R. Wickens & Roberto Motto, 2001. "Estimating shocks and impulse response functions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 371-387.
  20. Wickens, Michael R., 1996. "Interpreting cointegrating vectors and common stochastic trends," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 255-271, October.
  21. Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1996. "What Does Monetary Policy Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 1-78.
  22. Sack, Brian, 2000. "Does the fed act gradually? A VAR analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 229-256, August.
  23. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 2005. "Assessing the Lucas Critique in Monetary Policy Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 245-272, April.
  24. 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.
  25. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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