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Modeling and identifying central banks' preferences

  • Carlo A. Favero
  • Riccardo Rovelli

In this paper we propose an approach to identify indipendently the parameters describing the structure of the economy from the parameters describing central bank preferences. We first estimate the parameters describing the structure of the US economy by considering a parsimonious specification for inflation, the output-gap and the commodity price index. We then proceed to the identification of central bank preferences by estimating by GMM the Euler equations for the solution of the intertemporal optimization problem relevant to the central banker. We then compare optimal and actual interest rate behavior to select a structure of central bank's preferences. Our main results are as follows. First, persistence in interest rates could be explained by the structure of the economy. Second, "strict" inflation targeting dominates "flexible" inflation targeting. Third, the actual behavior of the policy rates cannot be described by the pure "strict" inflation targeting model, which would imply a much more aggressive monetary policy than the observed one. Fourth, when the inflation targeting model is extended to consider Brainard-type uncertainty and real interest rates smoothing, the latter is preferred hypothesis to reconcile actual and optimal interest rates behavior.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 148.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:148
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  1. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy rules for inflation targeting," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," Economics Series 10, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  3. Svensson, Lars E.O., 1997. "Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," Seminar Papers 615, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Marvin Goodfriend, 1987. "Interest rate smoothing and price level trend-stationarity," Working Paper 87-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Is The Fed Too Timid? Monetary Policy In An Uncertain World," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 203-217, May.
  6. Richard H. Clarida & Mark Gertler, 1997. "How the Bundesbank Conducts Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 363-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cecchetti, Stephen G & McConnell, Margaret M & Perez-Quiros, Gabriel, 2002. "Policymakers' Revealed Preferences and the Output-Inflation Variability Trade-Off: Implications for the European System of Central Banks," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(4), pages 596-618, Special I.
  8. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2000. "Does the P* Model Provide Any Rationale for Monetary Targeting?," NBER Working Papers 7178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," Working Papers 97-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  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. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  12. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 1998. "The new neoclassical synthesis and the role of monetary policy," Working Paper 98-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  14. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  16. Brian Sack, 1998. "Does the Fed act gradually? a VAR analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. John B. Taylor, 1996. "How should monetary policy respond to shocks while maintaining long-run price stability? Conceptual issues," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 181-195.
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