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Optimal monetary policy with durable and non-durable goods

  • Erceg, Christopher J.
  • Levin, Andrew T.

The durable goods sector is much more interest sensitive than the non-durables sector, and these sectoral differences have important implications for monetary policy. In this paper, we perform VAR analysis of quarterly US data and find that a monetary policy innovation has a peak impact on durable expenditures that is roughly five times as large as its impact on non-durable expenditures. We then proceed to formulate and calibrate a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model that roughly matches the impulse response functions of the data. While the social welfare function involves sector-specific output gaps and inflation rates, we find that performance of the optimal policy rule can be closely approximated by a very simple rule that targets a weighted average of aggregate wage and price inflation rates. In contrast, some commonly-prescribed policy rules (such as strict5 price inflation targeting and Taylor's rule) perform very poorly in terms of social welfare. JEL Classification: E31, E32, E52

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0179.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20020179
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  1. Coenen, Günter & Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," CEPR Discussion Papers 3892, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Current Real-Business-Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 430-50, June.
  3. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1998. "The new neoclassical synthesis and the role of monetary policy," Working Paper 98-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  4. Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2004. "Optimal monetary policy in a currency area," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 293-320, July.
  5. Ogaki, M & Reinhart, C-M, 1995. "Measuring Intertemporal Substitution : The Role of Durable Goods," RCER Working Papers 404, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Henderson, Dale W. & McKibbin, Warwick J., 1993. "A comparison of some basic monetary policy regimes for open economies: implications of different degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 221-317, December.
  7. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  8. 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.
  9. Michael J. Hamburger, 1967. "Interest rates and the demand for consumer durable goods," Staff Studies 41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  11. Andreas Hornstein & Jack Praschnik, 1997. "Intermediate inputs and sectoral comovement in the business cycle," Working Paper 97-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
  13. Baxter, Marianne, 1996. "Are Consumer Durables Important for Business Cycles?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 147-55, February.
  14. Robert King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "What Should the Monetary Authority Do When Prices Are Sticky?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 349-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Marvin Goodfriend, 1997. "Monetary policy comes of age: a 20th century odyssey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-22.
  16. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1976. "Illiquidity, Consumer Durable Expenditure, and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 642-54, September.
  17. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  19. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  20. Gali, J., 1992. "Variability of Durable and Nondurable Consumption: Evidence for Six O.E.C.D. Countries," Papers 92-06, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  21. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
  23. 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.
  24. Parks, Richard W, 1974. "The Demand and Supply of Durable Goods and Durability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 37-55, March.
  25. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
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