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The pitfalls of monetary discretion

  • Aubhik Khan
  • Robert G. King
  • Alexander L. Wolman

In a canonical staggered pricing model, monetary discretion leads to multiple private sector equilibria. The basis for multiplicity is a form of policy complementarity. Specifically, prices set in the current period embed expectations about future policy, and actual future policy responds to these same prices. For a range of values of the fundamental state variable — a ratio of predetermined prices — there is complementarity between actual and expected policy, and multiple equilibria occur. Moreover, this multiplicity is not associated with reputational considerations: it occurs in a two-period model.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 01-08.

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Date of creation: 2001
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:01-08
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  1. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
  2. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  3. Ireland, Peter N., 1997. "Sustainable monetary policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 87-108, November.
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  6. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1996. "Expectations, traps and discretion," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Huberto M. Ennis & Todd Keister, 2001. "Optimal policy with probabilistic equilibrium selection," Working Paper 01-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  9. Aubhik Khan & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 2001. "Optimal monetary policy," Working Papers 01-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. 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.
  11. Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "Sticky prices, marginal cost, and the behavior of inflation," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 29-48.
  12. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Implementing Optimal Policy through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 19-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gianluca Benigno & Pierpaolo Benigno, 2003. "Price Stability in Open Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 743-764.
  14. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2000. "Sticky Price Models of the Business Cycle: Can the Contract Multiplier Solve the Persistence Problem?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
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