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Monetary Policy Regimes and the Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates

  • Queijo von Heideken, Virginia

    ()

    (Research Department, Central Bank of Sweden)

This paper addresses two important questions that have, so far, been studied separately in the literature. First, the paper aims at explaining the high volatility of long-term interest rates observed in the data, which is hard to replicate using standard macro models. Building a small-scale macroeconomic model and estimating it on U.S. and U.K. data, I show that the policy responses of a central bank that is uncertain about the natural rate of unemployment can explain this volatility puzzle. Second, the paper aims at shedding new light on the distinction between rules and discretion in monetary policy. My empirical results show that using yield curve data may facilitate the empirical discrimination between different monetary policy regimes and that U.S. monetary policy is best understood as originating from a discretionary regime since 1960.

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Paper provided by Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden) in its series Working Paper Series with number 220.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:rbnkwp:0220
Contact details of provider: Postal: Sveriges Riksbank, SE-103 37 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08 - 787 00 00
Fax: 08-21 05 31
Web page: http://www.riksbank.com/
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  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Antonio Moreno & Geert Bekaert & Seonghoon Cho, 2004. "New-Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," 2004 Meeting Papers 388, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Ellingsen, Tore & Söderström, Ulf, 1998. "Monetary Policy and Market Interest Rates," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 242, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 08 Mar 1999.
  4. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2001. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy under Asymmetric Information," NBER Working Papers 8255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2006. "A new Keynesian model with unemployment," Working Paper Research 92, National Bank of Belgium.
  6. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 445-462, August.
  7. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Commentary : how should monetary policy be conducted in an era of price stability?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 277-316.
  8. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  9. GlennD. Rudebusch & Tao Wu, 2008. "A Macro-Finance Model of the Term Structure, Monetary Policy and the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 906-926, 07.
  10. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Hördahl, Peter & Tristani, Oreste & Vestin, David, 2007. "The yield curve and macroeconomic dynamics," Working Paper Series 0832, European Central Bank.
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  13. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," NBER Working Papers 3153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
  15. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," Working Paper 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  16. Hordahl, Peter & Tristani, Oreste & Vestin, David, 2006. "A joint econometric model of macroeconomic and term-structure dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 405-444.
  17. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2003. "The excess sensitivity of long-term interest rates: evidence and implications for macroeconomic models," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  18. Sarno, Lucio & Thornton, Daniel L & Valente, Giorgio, 2005. "The Empirical Failure of the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Bond Yields," CEPR Discussion Papers 5259, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Ellingsen, Tore & Söderström, Ulf, 2004. "Why Are Long Rates Sensitive to Monetary Policy?," Working Paper Series 160, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  20. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  21. Shiller, Robert J, 1979. "The Volatility of Long-Term Interest Rates and Expectations Models of the Term Structure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1190-1219, December.
  22. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  23. 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 473-91, June.
  24. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
  25. Söderlind, Paul, 1998. "Solution and Estimation of RE Macromodels with Optimal Policy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 256, Stockholm School of Economics.
  26. RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco J., 2002. "Does the Barro-Gordon Model Explain the Behavior of US Inflation? a Reexamination of the Empirical Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 2002-07, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  27. Kozicki, Sharon & Tinsley, P. A., 2001. "Shifting endpoints in the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 613-652, June.
  28. 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.
  29. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
  30. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
  31. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-62, May.
  32. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2003. "Inflation and monetary policy in the twentieth century," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 22-45.
  33. Beechey, Meredith, 2004. "Excess Sensitivity and Volatility of Long Interest Rates: The Role of Limited Information in Bond Markets," Working Paper Series 173, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  34. Reis Ricardo, 2003. "Where Is the Natural Rate? Rational Policy Mistakes and Persistent Deviations of Inflation from Target," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, September.
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