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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Masao Ogaki & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Measuring Intertemporal Substitution: The Role of Durable Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 1078-1098, October.
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  7. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  8. Taylor, John B, 1980. "Aggregate Dynamics and Staggered Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 1-23, February.
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  10. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
  11. 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.
  12. Hornstein, Andreas & Praschnik, Jack, 1997. "Intermediate inputs and sectoral comovement in the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 573-595, December.
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  15. Gali, Jordi, 1993. "Variability of Durable and Nondurable Consumption: Evidence for Six O.E.C.D. Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 418-28, August.
  16. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  17. 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.).
  18. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert King, 1997. "The New Neoclassical Synthesis and the Role of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 231-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Robert King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "What Should the Monetary Authority Do When Prices Are Sticky?," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 349-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Aoki, Kosuke, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy responses to relative-price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-80, August.
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