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The Taylor principle, interest rate smoothing and Fed policy in the 1970s and 1980s

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  • Yash P. Mehra

Abstract

Using real time estimates of output gaps or Greenbook forecasts of the unemployment rate, this article estimates Taylor-type policy rules that predict the actual behavior of the funds rate during two sample periods, 1968Q1 to 1979Q2 and 1979Q3 to 1994Q4. The inflation rate response coefficient is close to unity over the first sub-period and well above unity over the second, suggesting Fed policy violated the Taylor principle during the first period. The adjustment of the funds rate in response to fundamentals is not as rapid during the first period as it is during the second. Together these results support the conventional view that the Fed was "too timid" and "too sluggish" during the late 1960s and the 1970s. Though the Fed smoothes interest rates, the degree of smoothing exhibited is far less than what was previously estimated. The funds rate response to its fundamentals is complete within one year during the first period and within one quarter during the second.

Suggested Citation

  • Yash P. Mehra, 2002. "The Taylor principle, interest rate smoothing and Fed policy in the 1970s and 1980s," Working Paper 02-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:02-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin J. Lansing, 2000. "Learning about a shift in trend output: implications for monetary policy and inflation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    3. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
    4. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
    5. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Monetary policy analysis in models without money," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 145-164.
    6. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
    7. Athanasios Orphanides, 2002. "Monetary-Policy Rules and the Great Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 115-120, May.
    8. Michael Woodford, 2001. "The Taylor Rule and Optimal Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 232-237, May.
    9. Mehra, Yash P., 2001. "The bond rate and estimated monetary policy rules," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 345-358.
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    Keywords

    Interest rates ; Monetary policy;

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