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Monetary policy rules based on real-time data

  • Athanasios Orphanides

In recent years, simple policy rules have received attention as a means to a more transparent and effective monetary policy. Often, however, the analysis is based on unrealistic assumptions about the timeliness of data availability. This permits rule specifications that are not operational and ignore difficulties associated with data revisions. This paper examines the magnitude of these informational problems using Taylor's rule as an example. I demonstrate that the real-time policy recommendations differ considerably from those obtained with the ex post revised data and are revised substantially even a year after the relevant quarter. Further, I show that estimated policy reaction functions obtained using the ex post revised data can yield misleading descriptions of historical policy. Using Federal Reserve staff forecasts I show that in the 1987-1992 period simple forward-looking specifications describe policy better than comparable Taylor-type specifications, a fact that is largely obscured when the analysis is based on the ex post revised data.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1998-03.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1998-03
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  1. Ball, Laurence, 1999. "Efficient Rules for Monetary Policy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 63-83, April.
  2. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wilcox, David W, 2002. "The Opportunistic Approach to Disinflation," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 47-71, Spring.
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  4. Bernanke, Ben S & Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Inflation Forecasts and Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(4), pages 653-84, November.
  5. Aksoy, Yunus & Orphanides, Athanasios & Small, David & Wieland, Volker & Wilcox, David, 2006. "A quantitative exploration of the opportunistic approach to disinflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1877-1893, November.
  6. Kenneth Kuttner, 1992. "Monetary policy with uncertain estimates of potential output," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jan, pages 2-15.
  7. Coenen, Günter & Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," CEPR Discussion Papers 3892, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Hallman, Jeffrey J & Porter, Richard D & Small, David H, 1991. "Is the Price Level Tied to the M2 Monetary Aggregate in the Long Run?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 841-58, September.
  9. McCallum, Bennett T., 1999. "Issues in the design of monetary policy rules," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1483-1530 Elsevier.
  10. 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.
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  16. Richard H. Clarida & Mark Gertler, 1997. "How the Bundesbank Conducts Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 363-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Fuhrer, Jeffrey C, 1997. "Inflation/Output Variance Trade-Offs and Optimal Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(2), pages 214-34, May.
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