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Dynamics of the Federal Funds Target Rate: A Nonstationary Discrete Choice Approach

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Abstract

We apply a discrete choice approach to model the empirical behavior of the Federal Reserve in changing the federal funds target rate, the benchmark of short term market interest rates in the US. Our methods allow the explanatory variables to be nonstationary as well as stationary. This feature is particularly useful in the present application as many economic fundamentals that are monitored by the Fed and are believed to affect decisions to adjust interest rate targets display some nonstationarity over time. The empirical model is determined using the PIC criterion (Phillips and Ploberger, 1996; Phillips, 1996) as a model selection device. The chosen model successfully predicts the majority of the target rate changes during the time period considered (1985-2001) and helps to explain strings of similar intervention decisions by the Fed. Based on the model-implied optimal interest rate, our findings suggest that there a lag in the Fed's reaction to economic shocks and that the Fed is more conservative in raising interest rates than in lowering rates.

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  • Ling Hu & Peter C.B. Phillips, 2002. "Dynamics of the Federal Funds Target Rate: A Nonstationary Discrete Choice Approach," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1365, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1365
    Note: CFP 1112.
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    1. Graciela Kaminsky & Saul Lizondo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 1-48, March.
    2. Peter C. B. Phillips, 2001. "Descriptive econometrics for non-stationary time series with empirical illustrations," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 389-413.
    3. Joon Y. Park & Peter C. B. Phillips, 2000. "Nonstationary Binary Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1249-1280, September.
    4. John C. Cox & Jonathan E. Ingersoll Jr. & Stephen A. Ross, 2005. "A Theory Of The Term Structure Of Interest Rates," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 5, pages 129-164 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Michael J. Dueker, 1999. "Measuring monetary policy inertia in target Fed funds rate changes," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 3-10.
    6. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
    7. Phillips, Peter C B & Ploberger, Werner, 1996. "An Asymptotic Theory of Bayesian Inference for Time Series," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 381-412, March.
    8. Hu, Ling & Phillips, Peter C. B., 2004. "Nonstationary discrete choice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 103-138, May.
    9. Phillips, Peter C B, 1996. "Econometric Model Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 763-812, July.
    10. Ray C. Fair, 2001. "Actual Federal Reserve policy behavior and interest rate rules," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Mar, pages 61-72.
    11. Brian P. Sack, 1998. "Does the Fed act gradually? a VAR analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Chang Sik Kim & Peter C.B. Phillips, 2006. "Log Periodogram Regression: The Nonstationary Case," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1587, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    13. Peter C.B. Phillips, 1998. "Econometric Analysis of Fisher's Equation," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1180, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    14. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-692, September.
    15. 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.
    16. Katsumi Shimotsu & Peter C.B. Phillips, 2000. "Local Whittle Estimation in Nonstationary and Unit Root Cases," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1266, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Sep 2003.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rebeca I. Muñoz Torres & David Shepherd, 2014. "Inflation Targeting and the Consistency of Monetary Policy Decisions in Mexico: an Empirical Analysis with Discrete Choice Models," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82, pages 21-46, December.
    2. Dong He & Laurent L. Pauwels, 2008. "What Prompts the People's Bank of China to Change Its Monetary Policy Stance? Evidence from a Discrete Choice Model," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 16(6), pages 1-21.
    3. Hu, Ling & Phillips, Peter C. B., 2004. "Nonstationary discrete choice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 103-138, May.
    4. Farrokh Nourzad & James Calhoun & Adam Kurkiewicz, 2012. "Federal funds futures, risk premium and monetary policy actions," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(16), pages 1317-1330, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Extended arc sine laws; Federal funds target rate; Interest rate; Monetary policy; Nonstationary discrete choice;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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