IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Robust estimation and monetary policy with unobserved structural change

  • John C. Williams

This paper considers the monetary policymaker’s joint problem of model estimation and the design of a policy rule in the face of uncertainty regarding the process of structural change in the economy. Unobserved structural change is modeled through time variation in the natural rates of interest and unemployment. I show that certainty-equivalent optimal policies perform poorly when there is uncertainty about the natural rate processes. I then examine the properties of combined estimation methods and policy rules that are robust to this type of model uncertainty. I find that weighted sample means are robust estimators of natural rates for the purpose of setting policy. The optimal policy under uncertainty incorporates a significant degree of policy inertia and a muted response to the perceived unemployment gap; by comparison, the certainty-equivalent optimized policy in this model exhibits little policy inertia and a more aggressive response to the unemployment gap.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/files/wp04-11bk.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2004-11.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2004-11
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 7702, San Francisco, CA 94120-7702

Phone: (415) 974-2000
Fax: (415) 974-3333
Web page: http://www.frbsf.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John C. Williams & Andrew T. Levin, 2003. "Robust Monetary Policy with Competing Reference Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 291, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 2002. "The NAIRU in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 115-136, Fall.
  3. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Inflation Targeting Rules," NBER Working Papers 9939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rudebusch, Glenn D & Svensson, Lars E O, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," CEPR Discussion Papers 1999, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Frank Smets, 1998. "Output gap uncertainty: does it matter for the Taylor rule?," BIS Working Papers 60, Bank for International Settlements.
  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. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2005. "The decline of activist stabilization policy: Natural rate misperceptions, learning, and expectations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1927-1950, November.
  8. Kozicki, Sharon & Tinsley, P. A., 2001. "Shifting endpoints in the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 613-652, June.
  9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the business cycle changed?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 9-56.
  10. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2003. "Modeling Model Uncertainty," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1087-1122, 09.
  11. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2003. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/40, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  12. Thomas Laubach, 1997. "Measuring the NAIRU : evidence from seven economies," Research Working Paper 97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  13. John C. Williams, 1999. "Simple rules for monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Eric Swanson, 2000. "On Signal Extraction and Non-Certainty-Equivalence in Optimal Monetary Policy Rules," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1085, Econometric Society.
  15. Robert J. Hodrick & Edward Prescott, 1981. "Post-War U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Discussion Papers 451, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1998. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Staff Reports 41, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  17. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1999. "Is the Fed too timid? Monetary policy in an uncertain world," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 99-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  18. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
  19. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Should Monetary Policy Respond Strongly to Output Gaps?," NBER Working Papers 8226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton & Ann-Charlotte Eliasson, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 841, Society for Computational Economics.
  21. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Drift and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post WWII U.S," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 262-302, April.
  22. Glenn Rudebusch, 2000. "Assessing Nominal Income Rules for Monetary Policy with Model and Data Uncertainty," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0065, Econometric Society.
  23. Douglas Laxton & Paolo Pesenti, 2003. "Monetary Rules for Small, Open, Emerging Economies," NBER Working Papers 9568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Orphanides, Athanasios & Porter, Richard D. & Reifschneider, David & Tetlow, Robert & Finan, Frederico, 2000. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 117-141.
  25. Arturo Estrella & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2003. "Monetary Policy Shifts and the Stability of Monetary Policy Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 94-104, February.
  26. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  27. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  28. Levin, Andrew & Wieland, Volker & Williams, John C., 2003. "The performance of forecast-based monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/06, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  29. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1999. "The Band Pass Filter," NBER Working Papers 7257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2003. "The Band Pass Filter," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 435-465, 05.
  30. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  31. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. 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.
  33. Edge, Rochelle M. & Laubach, Thomas & Williams, John C., 2007. "Learning and shifts in long-run productivity growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2421-2438, November.
  34. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  35. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Working Paper Series 0012, European Central Bank.
  36. Athanasios Orphanides, 2002. "Monetary-Policy Rules and the Great Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 115-120, May.
  37. John H. Kalchbrenner & Peter A. Tinsley, 1976. "On the use of optimal control in the design of monetary policy," Special Studies Papers 76, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  38. Granger, C. W. J., 1980. "Long memory relationships and the aggregation of dynamic models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 227-238, October.
  39. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1995. "Measuring Business Cycles Approximate Band-Pass Filters for Economic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 5022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902.
  41. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 1999. "The Reliability of Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Macroeconomics 9907006, EconWPA.
  42. 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.
  43. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2010. "Empirical and policy performance of a forward-looking monetary model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 145-176.
  44. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
  45. Diebold, Francis X. & Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1989. "Long memory and persistence in aggregate output," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 189-209, September.
  46. Thomas Sargent & Noah Williams & Tao Zha, 2009. "The Conquest of South American Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 211-256, 04.
  47. Thomas Laubach and John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 35, Society for Computational Economics.
  48. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1989. "Forecasting output with the composite leading index: an ex ante analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 90, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2004-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Noah Pollaczek)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.