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Designing a Simple Loss Function for Central Banks: Does a Dual Mandate Make Sense?

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  • Debortoli, Davide

    () (UPF, CREI and Barcelona GSE)

  • Kim, Jinill

    () (Korea University)

  • Lindé, Jesper

    () (Research Department, Central Bank of Sweden)

  • Nunes, Ricardo

    () (University of Surrey and CIMS)

Abstract

Yes, it makes a lot of sense. This paper studies how to design simple loss functions for central banks, as parsimonious approximations to social welfare. We show, both analytically and quantitatively, that simple loss functions should feature a high weight on measures of economic activity, sometimes even larger than the weight on inflation. Two main factors drive our result. First, stabilizing economic activity also stabilizes other welfare-relevant variables. Second, the estimated model features mitigated inflation distortions due to a low elasticity of substitution between monopolistic goods and a low interest rate sensitivity of demand. The result holds up in the presence of measurement errors, with large shocks that generate a trade-off between stabilizing inflation and resource utilization, and also when imposing a moderate degree of interest rate volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Debortoli, Davide & Kim, Jinill & Lindé, Jesper & Nunes, Ricardo, 2018. "Designing a Simple Loss Function for Central Banks: Does a Dual Mandate Make Sense?," Working Paper Series 366, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden), revised 01 Mar 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:rbnkwp:0366
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    Cited by:

    1. Barthélemy, Jean & Mengus, Eric, 2018. "The signaling effect of raising inflation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 488-516.
    2. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Alper, Koray & Pereira da Silva, Luiz, 2018. "External shocks, financial volatility and reserve requirements in an open economy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 23-43.
    3. Binder, Michael & Lieberknecht, Philipp & Quintana, Jorge & Wieland, Volker, 2018. "Robust Macroprudential Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181503, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. repec:eee:jbfina:v:100:y:2019:i:c:p:122-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lazopoulos, Ioannis & Gabriel, Vasco, 2019. "Policy mandates and institutional architecture," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 122-134.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central banksobjectives; simple loss function; monetary policy design; sticky prices and sticky wages; DSGE models;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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