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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
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  1. 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.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2006. "A new Keynesian model with unemployment," Working Paper Research 92, National Bank of Belgium.
  3. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. 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.
  4. Sims, Christopher A, 2002. "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 1-20, October.
  5. Hördahl, Peter & Tristani, Oreste & Vestin, David, 2004. "A joint econometric model of macroeconomic and term structure dynamics," Working Paper Series 0405, European Central Bank.
  6. Lucio Sarno & Daniel L. Thornton & Giorgio Valente, 2005. "The empirical failure of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of bond yields," Working Papers 2003-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. 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.
  8. Hördahl, Peter & Tristani, Oreste & Vestin, David, 2007. "The yield curve and macroeconomic dynamics," Working Paper Series 0832, European Central Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2000. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Working Paper Series 0012, European Central Bank.
  13. 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.
  14. Seonghoon Cho & Antonio Moreno & Geert Bekaert, 2005. "New-Keynesian Macroeconomics and the Term Structure," Faculty Working Papers 04/05, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
  15. Ulf Soderstrom & Tore Ellingsen, 2004. "Why are long rates sensitive to monetary policy?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 31, Society for Computational Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2003. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," NBER Working Papers 9459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Tore Ellingsen & Ulf Soderstrom, 2001. "Monetary Policy and Market Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1594-1607, December.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  25. 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.
  26. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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).
  31. Soderlind, Paul, 1999. "Solution and estimation of RE macromodels with optimal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 813-823, April.
  32. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
  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. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Drift and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post WWII U.S," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 262-302, April.
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