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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. Bekaert, Geert & Cho, Seonghoon & Moreno Ibáñez, Antonio, 2006. "New-Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Shiller, Robert & Campbell, John, 1991. "Yield Spreads and Interest Rate Movements: A Bird's Eye View," Scholarly Articles 3221490, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  6. Tao Wu & Glenn Rudebusch, 2004. "A Macro-Finance Model of the Term Structure, Monetary Policy, and the Economy," 2004 Meeting Papers 104, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  8. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2000. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  10. Ellingsen, Tore & Söderström, Ulf, 2004. "Why Are Long Rates Sensitive to Monetary Policy?," Working Paper Series 160, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
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  13. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Sarno, Lucio & Thornton, Daniel L. & Valente, Giorgio, 2007. "The Empirical Failure of the Expectations Hypothesis of the Term Structure of Bond Yields," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 81-100, March.
  21. 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.
  22. Peter N. Ireland, 1998. "Does the Time-Consistency Problem Explain the Behavior of Inflation in the United States?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 415, Boston College Department of Economics.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Blanchard, Olivier & Galí, Jordi, 2006. "A New Keynesian model with unemployment," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  26. Peter Hordahl & Oreste Tristani & David Vestin, 2003. "A joint econometric model of macroeconomic and term structure," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Tore Ellingsen & Ulf Soderstrom, 2001. "Monetary Policy and Market Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1594-1607, December.
  30. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
  31. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2003. "Does the Barro-Gordon model explain the behavior of US inflation? A reexamination of the empirical evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1375-1390, September.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. Sharon Kozicki & P.A. Tinsley, 1997. "Shifting endpoints in the term structure of interest rates," Research Working Paper 97-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
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