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Timeless perspective policymaking: When is discretion superior?

  • Richard Dennis

In this paper I show that discretionary policymaking can be superior to timeless perspective policymaking and identify model features that make this outcome more likely. Developing a measure of conditional loss that treats the auxiliary state variables that characterize the timeless perspective equilibrium appropriately, I use a New Keynesian DSGE model to show that discretion can dominate timeless perspective policymaking when the Phillips curve is relatively flat, due, perhaps, to firm-specific capital (or labor) and/or Kimball (1995) aggregation in combination with nominal price rigidity. These results suggest that studies applying the timeless perspective might also usefully compare its performance to discretion, paying careful attention to how policy performance is evaluated.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008-21.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2008-21
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  3. Schaumburg, Ernst & Tambalotti, Andrea, 2007. "An investigation of the gains from commitment in monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 302-324, March.
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  9. Gilles Oudiz & Jeffrey Sachs, 1985. "International Policy Coordination in Dynamic Macroeconomic Models," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Policy Coordination, pages 274-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2000. "Timeless Perspectives vs. Discretionary Monetary Policy In Forward-Looking Models," NBER Working Papers 7915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2012. "Linear-quadratic approximation of optimal policy problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 1-42.
  16. Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen, 1999. "Simplicity versus optimality the choice of monetary policy rules when agents must learn," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Andrew Blake, 2001. "A Timeless Perspective on Optimality in Forward-Looking Rational Expectations Models," NIESR Discussion Papers 188, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  19. Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D.M., 2007. "Estimating the frequency of price re-optimization in Calvo-style models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 2032-2047, October.
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  22. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: II. Applications," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000394, UCLA Department of Economics.
  23. Richard Dennis, 2003. "Inferring policy objectives from economic outcomes," Working Paper Series 2003-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  24. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  25. Kydland, Finn E. & Prescott, Edward C., 1980. "Dynamic optimal taxation, rational expectations and optimal control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 79-91, May.
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