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

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.

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

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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.

in new window

Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1998-03
Contact details of provider: Postal:
20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

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. Coenen Günter & Orphanides Athanasios & Wieland Volker, 2004. "Price Stability and Monetary Policy Effectiveness when Nominal Interest Rates are Bounded at Zero," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, February.
  2. 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.
  3. Aksoy, Yunus & Orphanides, Athanasios & Small, David & Wieland, Volker, 2005. "A quantitative exploration of the opportunistic approach to disinflation," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/19, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. Bennett T. McCallum, 1997. "Issues in the Design of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Working Papers 6016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1992. "Monetary policy with uncertain estimates of potential output," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jan, pages 2-15.
  7. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1996. "Federal Reserve Private Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 5692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kuttner, Kenneth N, 1994. "Estimating Potential Output as a Latent Variable," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 361-68, July.
  9. Richard Clarida & Mark Gertler, 1996. "How the Bundesbank Conducts Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 5581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Braun, Steven N, 1990. "Estimation of Current-Quarter Gross National Product by Pooling Preliminary Labor-Market Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 293-304, July.
  11. McCallum, Bennett T., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice: two critical points : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 215-220, December.
  12. Ball, Laurence, 1999. "Efficient Rules for Monetary Policy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 63-83, April.
  13. Dale W. Henderson & Warwick J. McKibbin, 1993. "A comparison of some basic monetary policy regimes for open economies: implications of different degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence," International Finance Discussion Papers 458, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wilcox, David W, 2002. "The Opportunistic Approach to Disinflation," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 47-71, Spring.
  15. Meltzer, Allan H, 1987. "Limits of Short-run Stabilization Policy: Presidential Address to the Western Economic Association, July 3, 1986," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 1-14, January.
  16. Ben S. Bernanke & Michael Woodford, 1997. "Inflation forecasts and monetary policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 653-686.
  17. Stephen K. McNees, 1986. "Modeling the Fed: a forward- looking monetary policy reaction function," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 3-8.
  18. 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.
  19. St-Amant, P. & van Norden, S., 1997. "Measurement of the Output Gap: A Discussion of Recent Research at the Bank of Canada," Technical Reports 79, Bank of Canada.
  20. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rome97-1, September.
  21. 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.).
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Ray C. Fair & E. Philip Howrey, 1995. "Evaluating Alternative Monetary Policy Rules," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1091, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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:fedgfe:1998-03. 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: (Marlene Vikor)

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.