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The Federal Reserve's framework for monetary policy - recent changes and new questions

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  • William B. English
  • J. David López-Salido
  • Robert J. Tetlow

Abstract

In recent years, the Federal Reserve has made substantial changes to its framework for monetary policymaking by providing greater clarity regarding its objectives, its intentions regarding the use of monetary policy--including nontraditional policy tools such as forward guidance and asset purchases--in the pursuit of those objectives, and its broader policy strategy. These changes reflected both a response to changes in economists' understanding of the most effective way to implement monetary policy and a response to specific challenges posed by the financial crisis and its aftermath, particularly the effective lower bound on nominal interest rates. We trace the recent evolution of the Federal Reserve's framework, and use a small-scale macro model and a simple static model to help illuminate the approaches taken with nontraditional monetary policy tools. A number of foreign central banks have made similar innovations in response to similar developments. On balance, the Federal Reserve has moved closer to "flexible inflation targeting," but the Federal Reserve's approach includes a balanced focus on two objectives and the use of a flexible horizon over which policy aims to foster those objectives. Going forward, further changes in central banks' frameworks may be needed to address issues raised by the financial crisis. For example, some have suggested that the sustained period at the effective lower bound points to the need for central banks to establish a different policy objective, such as a higher inflation target or a nominal income target. We use our small-scale model of the U.S. economy to examine the potential benefits and costs of such changes. We also discuss the broad issue of how central banks should integrate financial stability policy and monetary policy.

Suggested Citation

  • William B. English & J. David López-Salido & Robert J. Tetlow, 2013. "The Federal Reserve's framework for monetary policy - recent changes and new questions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-76, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-76
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gavin, William T. & Keen, Benjamin D. & Richter, Alexander & Throckmorton, Nathaniel, 2013. "The stimulative effect of forward guidance," Working Papers 2013-38, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 30 Apr 2014.
    2. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:678-711 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yellen, Janet L., 2015. "Inflation Dynamics and Monetary Policy : A speech at the Philip Gamble Memorial Lecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, September 24, 2015," Speech 863, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. repec:ris:ecoint:0807 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:dyncon:v:90:y:2018:i:c:p:138-155 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Richhild Moessner & David-Jan Jansen & Jakob de Haan, 2017. "Communication About Future Policy Rates In Theory And Practice: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 678-711, July.
    7. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1593-1624 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:3:p:441-451 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Yellen, Janet L., 2016. "The Outlook, Uncertainty, and Monetary Policy : a speech at the Economic Club of New York, New York, New York, March 29, 2016," Speech 894, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. van Holle, Frederiek, 2017. "Essays in empirical finance and monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 30d11a4b-7bc9-4c81-ad24-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. Maciej Ryczkowski, 2016. "Poland as an inflation nutter:The story of successful output stabilization," Zbornik radova Ekonomskog fakulteta u Rijeci/Proceedings of Rijeka Faculty of Economics, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 363-392.

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