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Optimal monetary policy with durable and non-durable goods

  • Christopher J. Erceg
  • Andrew T. Levin

The durable goods sector is much more interest sensitive than the non-durables sector, and these sectoral differences have important implications for monetary policy. In this paper, we perform VAR analysis of quarterly US data and find that a monetary policy innovation has a peak impact on durable expenditures that is roughly five times as large as its impact on non-durable expenditures. We then proceed to formulate and calibrate a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model that roughly matches the impulse response functions of the data. While the social welfare function involves sector-specific output gaps and inflation rates, we find that performance of the optimal policy rule can be closely approximated by a very simple rule that targets a weighted average of aggregate wage and price inflation rates. In contrast, some commonly-prescribed policy rules (such as strict price inflation targeting and Taylor's rule) perform very poorly in terms of social welfare.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 748.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:748
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  1. Andreas Hornstein & Jack Praschnik, 1997. "Intermediate inputs and sectoral comovement in the business cycle," Working Paper 97-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  2. Gali, J., 1992. "Variability of Durable and Nondurable Consumption: Evidence for Six O.E.C.D. Countries," Papers 92-06, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
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  4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  5. 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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  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. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  9. Baxter, Marianne, 1996. "Are Consumer Durables Important for Business Cycles?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 147-55, February.
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  16. Marvin Goodfriend, 1997. "Monetary policy comes of age: a 20th century odyssey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-22.
  17. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1998. "The new neoclassical synthesis and the role of monetary policy," Working Paper 98-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  18. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 24, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  20. Michael J. Hamburger, 1967. "Interest rates and the demand for consumer durable goods," Staff Studies 41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  25. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1976. "Illiquidity, Consumer Durable Expenditure, and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 642-54, September.
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