IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy

  • Athanasios Orphanides
  • John C. Williams

This paper investigates the role of imperfect knowledge regarding the structure of the economy on the formation of expectations, macroeconomic dynamics, and the efficient formulation of monetary policy. Economic agents rely on an adaptive learning technology to form expectations and continuously update their beliefs regarding the dynamic structure of the economy based on incoming data. The process of perpetual learning introduces an additional layer of dynamic interactions between monetary policy and economic outcomes. We find that policies that would be efficient under rational expectations can perform poorly when knowledge is imperfect. In particular, policies that fail to maintain tight control over inflation are prone to episodes in which the public's expectations of inflation becomes uncoupled from the policy objective and stagflation results, in a pattern similar to that experienced in the United States during the 1970s. More generally, we show that in the presence of imperfect knowledge, policy should respond more aggressively to inflation than under perfect knowledge.

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: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2002/200227/200227abs.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2002/200227/200227pap.pdf
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 2002-27.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2002-27
Contact details of provider: Postal:
20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551

Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/fedsorder.html

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. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja & Ramon Marimon, 2003. "Stable Sunspot Equilibria in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," Working Papers 14, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2001. "Monetary policy rules, macroeconomic stability and inflation: a view from the trenches," Working Paper Series 0115, European Central Bank.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 5893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the natural rate of interest," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Bray, Margaret, 1982. "Learning, estimation, and the stability of rational expectations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 318-339, April.
  8. Kaushik Mitra & James Bullard, . "Learning About Monetary Policy Rules," Discussion Papers 00/41, Department of Economics, University of York.
  9. Antulio N. Bomfim & Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen & John Williams, 1997. "Expectations, learning and the costs of disinflation: experiments using the FRB/US model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Haizhou Huang & Peter B Clark & Charles Goodhart, 1996. "Optimal Monetary Policy Rules in a Rational Expectations Model of the Phillips Curve," FMG Discussion Papers dp247, Financial Markets Group.
  11. Sharon Kozicki & P.A.Tinsley, 2001. "What do you expect? : imperfect policy credibility and tests of the expectations hypothesis?," Research Working Paper RWP 01-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  12. Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Monetary Policy and Uncertainty about the Natural Unemployment Rate," CEPR Discussion Papers 3811, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  14. Blume, Lawrence E. & Easley, David, 1982. "Learning to be rational," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 340-351, April.
  15. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 1999. "Inflation zone targeting," Working Paper Series 0008, European Central Bank.
  16. Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2005. "New tests of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1167-1181, September.
  17. Lawrence J. Christiano & Christopher J. Gust, 2000. "The expectations trap hypothesis," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 21-39.
  18. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
  19. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 63-146.
  20. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
  21. George W. Evans & Garey Ramey, 2001. ""Adaptive Expectations, Underparameterization and the Lucas Critique," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2001-8, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Dec 2004.
  22. Carlstrom, Charles T. & Fuerst, Timothy S., 2004. "Learning and the central bank," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 327-338, March.
  23. John M. Roberts, 2001. "How well does the New Keynesian sticky-price model fit the data?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  24. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "The Epidemiology of Macroeconomic Expectations," NBER Working Papers 8695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. John M. Roberts, 1998. "Inflation expectations and the transmission of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  26. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-Rationality and Inflation in Two Monetary Regimes," NBER Working Papers 7988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Ronald J. Balvers & Thomas F. Cosimano, 1994. "Inflation Variability and Gradualist Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 721-738.
  28. Levin, Andrew & Wieland, Volker & Williams, John C., 2003. "The performance of forecast-based monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/06, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  29. Bullard James, 1994. "Learning Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 468-485, December.
  30. Flint Brayton & Eileen Mauskopf & David L. Reifschneider & Peter A. Tinsley & John Williams, 1997. "The role of expectations in the FRB/US macroeconomic model," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 227-245.
  31. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Learning to Believe in Sunspots," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 277-307, March.
  32. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1988. "The Fate of Systems with "Adaptive" Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 168-72, May.
  33. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1995. "Inflation Persistence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 127-159.
  34. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Economic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  35. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1986. "Adaptive Behavior and Economic Theory," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S401-26, October.
  36. Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Econometric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  38. Townsend, Robert M, 1978. "Market Anticipations, Rational Expectations, and Bayesian Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 481-94, June.
  39. Friedman, Benjamin M., 1979. "Optimal expectations and the extreme information assumptions of `rational expectations' macromodels," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 23-41, January.
  40. Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew T. Levin, 2001. "Imperfect credibility and inflation persistence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  41. Cho, In-Koo & Sargent, Thomas J., 2000. "Escaping Nash inflation," Working Paper Series 0023, European Central Bank.
  42. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Inflation scares and forecast-based monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  43. 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.).
  44. Flint Brayton & John M. Roberts & John C. Williams, 1999. "What's happened to the Phillips curve?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  45. Yvan Lengwiler & Athanasios Orphanides, 1999. "Optimal discretion," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  46. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Estimation and Control of a Macroeconomic Model with Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1267-86, September.
  47. Anderson, T W & Taylor, John B, 1976. "Some Experimental Results on the Statistical Properties of Least Squares Estimates in Control Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1289-1302, November.
  48. Roberts, John M., 1997. "Is inflation sticky?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-196, July.
  49. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298.
  50. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  51. Gaspar, Vitor & Smets, Frank, 2002. "Monetary Policy, Price Stability and Output Gap Stabilization," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 193-211, Summer.
  52. Taylor, John B, 1975. "Monetary Policy during a Transition to Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1009-21, October.
  53. Craine, Roger, 1979. "Optimal monetary policy with uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-83, February.
  54. Douglas O. Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "How Precise Are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 195-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Buiter, Willem H & Jewitt, Ian, 1981. "Staggered Wage Setting with Real Wage Relativities: Variations on a Theme of Taylor," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 49(3), pages 211-28, September.
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:2002-27. 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.