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Quantifying and sustaining welfare gains from monetary commitment

  • Levine, Paul
  • McAdam, Peter
  • Pearlman, Joseph G.

The objectives of this paper are: first, to quantify the stabilization welfare gains from commitment; second, to examine how commitment to an optimal rule can be sustained as an equilibrium and third, to find a simple interest rate rule that closely approximates the optimal commitment one. We utilize an influential empirical micro-founded DSGE model, the euro area model of Smets and Wouters (2003), and a quadratic approximation of the representative household’s utility as the welfare criterion. Importantly, we impose the effect of a nominal interest rate zero lower bound. In contrast with previous studies, we find significant stabilization gains from commitment: our central estimate is a 0.4 - 0.5% equivalent permanent increase in consumption, but in a variant with a higher degree of price stickiness, gains of over 2% are found. We also find that a simple optimized commitment rule with the nominal interest rate responding to current inflation and the real wage closely mimics the optimal rule. JEL Classification: E52, E37, E58

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0709.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20070709
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