IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Welfare-maximizing monetary policy under parameter uncertainty

  • Rochelle M. Edge
  • Thomas Laubach
  • John C. Williams

This paper examines welfare-maximizing monetary policy in an estimated micro-founded general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy where the policymaker faces uncertainty about model parameters. Uncertainty about parameters describing preferences and technology implies not only uncertainty about the dynamics of the economy. It also implies uncertainty about the model's utility-based welfare criterion and about the economy's natural rate measures of interest and output. We analyze the characteristics and performance of alternative monetary policy rules given the estimated uncertainty regarding parameter estimates. We find that the natural rates of interest and output are imprecisely estimated. We then show that, relative to the case of known parameters, optimal policy under parameter uncertainty responds less to natural-rate terms and more to other variables, such as price and wage inflation and measures of tightness or slack that do not depend on natural rates.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2007-11.

in new window

Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2007-11
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 7702, San Francisco, CA 94120-7702

Phone: (415) 974-2000
Fax: (415) 974-3333
Web page:

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. Kosuke Aoki & Kalin Nikolov, 2004. "Rule-based monetary policy under central bank learning," Bank of England working papers 235, Bank of England.
  2. Francis, Neville & Ramey, Valerie A., 2005. "Is the technology-driven real business cycle hypothesis dead? Shocks and aggregate fluctuations revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1379-1399, November.
  3. Rochelle M. Edge & Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2007. "Welfare-maximizing monetary policy under parameter uncertainty," Working Paper Series 2007-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alastair Hall & Atsushi Inoue & James M. Nason & Barbara Rossi, 2010. "Information Criteria for Impulse Response Function Matching Estimation of DSGE Models," Working Papers 10-28, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John Williams & Noah M. Williams, 2006. "Monetary Policy Under Uncertainty in Micro-Founded Macroeconometric Models," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 229-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1063-1070, November.
  9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  10. Gali, J., 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," Working Papers 96-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  11. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  12. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2002. "An estimated stochastic dynamic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Series 0171, European Central Bank.
  13. 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.
  14. Ann-Charlotte Eliasson & Peter Isard & Douglas Laxton, 1999. "Simple Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," IMF Working Papers 99/75, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Alejandro Justiniano & Bruce Preston, 2009. "Monetary policy and uncertainty in an empirical small open economy model," Working Paper Series WP-09-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  16. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1996. "Real-Business-Cycle Models and the Forecastable Movements in Output, Hours, and Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 71-89, March.
  17. Canova, Fabio & Sala, Luca, 2009. "Back to square one: Identification issues in DSGE models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 431-449, May.
  18. Patrick J. Kehoe, 2006. "How to advance theory with structural VARs: use the Sims-Cogley-Nason approach," Staff Report 379, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2006. "Monetary Policy with Imperfect Knowledge," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 366-375, 04-05.
  20. 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.
  21. Amato, Jeffery D. & Laubach, Thomas, 2003. "Estimation and control of an optimization-based model with sticky prices and wages," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1181-1215, May.
  22. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 111-144, February.
  23. repec:nbr:nberre:0126 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Dixon, Huw & Kara, Engin, 2006. "How to Compare Taylor and Calvo Contracts: A Comment on Michael Kiley," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 1119-1126, June.
  25. Andrew T. Levin & Volker W. Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of simple monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  26. 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.
  27. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:111-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. John C. Williams & Andrew T. Levin, 2003. "Parameter Uncertainty and the Central Bank's Objective Function," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 215, Society for Computational Economics.
  30. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Speech 81, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  31. John C. Williams, 2003. "The natural rate of interest," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct31.
  32. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  33. 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.
  34. Frederico Finan & Robert J. Tetlow, 1999. "Optimal control of large, forward-looking models efficient solutions and two examples," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-51, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  35. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  36. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
  37. Thomas Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2005. "A Bayesian Look at New Open Economy Macroeconomics," Economics Working Paper Archive 521, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
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:2007-11. 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.