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On the optimality of transparent monetary policy

Author

Listed:
  • Susan Athey
  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

Abstract

We analyze the optimal design of monetary rules. We suppose there is an agreed upon social welfare function that depends on the randomly fluctuating state of the economy and that the monetary authority has private information about that state. We suppose the government can constrain the policies of the monetary authority by legislating a rule. In general, well-designed rules trade-off the need to constrain policymakers from the standard time consistency problem arising from the temptation for unexpected inflation with the desire to give them flexibility to react to their private information. Surprisingly, we show that for a wide variety of circumstances the optimal rule gives the monetary authority no flexibility. This rule can be interpreted as a strict inflation targeting rule where the target is a prespecified function of publicly observed data. In this sense, optimal monetary policy is transparent.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2001. "On the optimality of transparent monetary policy," Working Papers 613, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:613
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2001. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 369-397, May.
    2. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349.
    3. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-1070, December.
    4. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1986. "Monetary mystique: Secrecy and central banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 63-92, January.
    5. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
    6. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2002. "The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 520-539, May.
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    9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott, 1988. "Time consistency and policy," Staff Report 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    12. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manuel Amador & Iván Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2006. "Commitment vs. Flexibility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 365-396, March.

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    Keywords

    Monetary policy;

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