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(Taylor) Rules versus Discretion in U.S. Monetary Policy

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Listed:
  • Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy

    () (Lehigh University)

  • David Papell

    ()

  • Ruxandra Prodan

    ()

Abstract

The Taylor rule has been the dominant metric for monetary policy evaluation over the past 20 years, and it has become common practice to identify periods where policy either adheres closely to or deviates from the Taylor rule benchmark. The purpose of this paper is to identify (Taylor) rules-based and discretionary eras solely from the data so that knowledge of subsequent economic outcomes cannot influence the choice of the dates. We define Taylor rules-based and discretionary eras by smaller and larger Taylor rule deviations, the absolute value of the difference between the actual federal funds rate and the federal funds rate prescribed by the original Taylor rule, and use tests for multiple structural changes and Markov switching models to identify the eras. Monetary policy in the U.S. is characterized by a Taylor rules-based (low deviations) era until 1974, a discretionary (high deviations) era from 1974 to about 1985, a rules-based era from about 1985 to 2000, and a discretionary era from 2001 to 2008. The Taylor rule deviations are about three times as large in the discretionary eras than in the rules-based eras and are almost four times larger in the most discretionary era (1974 to 1984) than in the least discretionary era (1985 to 2000). With the Markov switching models, which allow for regime changes at the beginning and end of the sample, we also identify a discretionary era from 1965 to 1968 and a rules-based era in 2006 and 2007. The discretionary and rules-based eras closely correspond to periods where the Taylor rule deviations are above and below two percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy & David Papell & Ruxandra Prodan, 2013. "(Taylor) Rules versus Discretion in U.S. Monetary Policy," Working Papers 2013-198-44, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  • Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:2013-198-44
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zheng Liu & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2011. "Sources of macroeconomic fluctuations: A regime‐switching DSGE approach," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(2), pages 251-301, July.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
    3. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    6. Lin,Justin Yifu, 2013. "Against the Consensus," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107038875.
    7. Perron, Pierre & Qu, Zhongjun, 2006. "Estimating restricted structural change models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 373-399, October.
    8. Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Papell, David H., 2012. "Taylor rules and the Great Inflation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 903-918.
    9. 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 473-491, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Taylor rules; rules versus discretion; monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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