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The Perils of Taylor Rules

  • Benhabib, Jess
  • Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie
  • Uribe, Martin

Since John Taylor's (1993) seminal paper, a large literature has argued that active interest rate feedback rules, that is, rules that respond to increases in inflation with a more than one-for-one increase in the nominal interest rate, are stabilizing. In this paper, we argue that once the zero bound on nominal interest rates is taken into account, active interest-rate feedback rules can easily lead to unexpected consequences. Specifically, in the context of a sticky-price model, we show that even if the steady state at which monetary policy is active is locally the unique equilibrium, typically there exists an infinite number of equilibrium trajectories originating arbitrarily close to that steady state that converge either to another steady state at which monetary policy is passive or to a stable limit cycle around the active steady state. We conclude that the use of local techniques for monetary policy evaluation might lead to spurious policy recommendations.

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File URL: http://econ.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/9381/RR98-37.PDF
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Paper provided by C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University in its series Working Papers with number 98-37.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cvs:starer:98-37
Contact details of provider: Postal: C.V. Starr Center, Department of Economics, New York University, 19 W. 4th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-8936
Fax: (212) 995-3932
Web page: http://econ.as.nyu.edu/object/econ.cvstarr.html
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Order Information: Postal: C.V. Starr Center, Department of Economics, New York University, 19 W. 4th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10012
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  1. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, June.
  3. Jess Benhabib & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1998. "Monetary policy and multiple equilibria," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "Interest-Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Working Papers 6618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1984. "Money and Interest in Cash-In-Advance Economy," Discussion Papers 628, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2000. "Price level determinacy and monetary policy under a balanced-budget requirement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 211-246, February.
  9. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Sbordone, Argia M., 2002. "Prices and unit labor costs: a new test of price stickiness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 265-292, March.
  12. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "Editorial in "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern97-1, December.
  15. Ben S. Bernanke & Michael Woodford, 1997. "Inflation forecasts and monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 653-686.
  16. Taylor, J.B., 1998. "The Robustness and Efficiency of Monetary Policy Rules as Guidelines for Interest Rate Setting by European Central Bank," Papers 649, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  17. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  18. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  19. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg (ed.), 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026252242x, June.
  20. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  21. John B. Taylor, 1998. "An Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
  25. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Advanced Monetary Theory and Policy (ECON 447)

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