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Measuring the reaction of monetary policy to the stock market

  • Roberto Rigobon
  • Brian Sack

Movements in the stock market can have a significant impact on the macroeconomy and are therefore likely to be an important factor in the determination of monetary policy. However, little is known about the magnitude of the Federal Reserve's reaction to the stock market. One reason is that it is difficult to estimate the policy reaction because of the simultaneous response of equity prices to interest rate changes. This paper uses an identification technique based on the heteroskedasticity of stock market returns to identify the reaction of monetary policy to the stock market. The results indicate that monetary policy reacts significantly to stock market movements, with a 5% rise (fall) in the S&P 500 index increasing the likelihood of a 25 basis point tightening (easing) by about a half. This reaction is roughly of the magnitude that would be expected from estimates of the impact of stock market movements on aggregate demand. Thus, it appears that the Federal Reserve systematically responds to stock price movements only to the extent warranted by their impact on the macroeconomy.

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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 2001-14.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2001-14
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  1. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Andrew W. Lo & A. Craig MacKinlay, 1987. "Stock Market Prices Do Not Follow Random Walks: Evidence From a Simple Specification Test," NBER Working Papers 2168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "Identification Through Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 777-792, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Should Central Banks Respond to Movements in Asset Prices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 253-257, May.
  6. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 17-51.
  7. Poterba, J.M. & Samwick, A.A., 1996. "Stock Ownership Patterns, Stock Market Fluctuations, and Consumption," Working papers 96-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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