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Non-standard central bank loss functions, skewed risks, and the certainty equivalence principle


  • al-Nowaihi, Ali

    (University of Leicester)

  • Livio Stracca


This paper sets out to investigate the role of additive uncertainty under plausible non-standard central bank loss functions over future inflation. Building on a substantial body of evidence in the economic psychology literature, this paper postulates (i) period-by-period loss functions that are non-convex, i.e. displaying diminishing or non-increasing sensitivity to losses, and (ii) non-linear weighing of probabilities, hence departing from the expected utility paradigm. In addition, a simple and plausible form of non-time separability of the central bank's inter-temporal loss function is also considered in the analysis. The main conclusion of the study is that if the additive uncertainty is caused by a non-Normal distributed additive shock, for instance if the probability distribution of the shock is skewed, then with these departures from the quadratic function the principle of certainty equivalence does not hold. Thus, it appears that with additive uncertainty of the non-Normal type the assumption of a quadratic loss function for the central banker may not be as innocuous as it is commonly regarded. Conversely, non-time separability of the central bank inter-temporal loss function as studied in this paper does not determine i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">per se any departure from certainty equivalence. Moreover, no evidence is found of an optimal policy gradualism as a response to increased additive uncertainty even under the non-standard loss functions considered in this paper.

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  • al-Nowaihi, Ali & Livio Stracca, 2002. "Non-standard central bank loss functions, skewed risks, and the certainty equivalence principle," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 4, Royal Economic Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2002:4

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2002. "Monetary policy and real stabilization," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 261-312.
    2. Rhys R. Mendes & Stephen Murchison & Carolyn A. Wilkins, 2017. "Monetary Policy Under Uncertainty: Practice Versus Theory," Discussion Papers 17-13, Bank of Canada.
    3. Alberto Locarno, 2007. "Imperfect Knowledge, Adaptive Learning, and the Bias Against Activist Monetary Policies," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(3), pages 47-85, September.
    4. Weitzman Nagar, 2007. "Asymmetry in Monetary Policy: An Asymmetric Objective Function and a New-Keynesian Model," Bank of Israel Working Papers 2007.02, Bank of Israel.
    5. Osama Sweidan, 2008. "The Asymmetric Loss Function and the Central Banks' Ability in Developing Countries," Global Economic Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 387-403.

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