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Parameters´ Instability, Model Uncertainty and Optimal Monetary Policy

Listed author(s):
  • Carlo A. Favero

Observed policy rates are smooth. Why should central banks smooth interest rates? We investigate if model uncertainty and parameters instability are a valid reason. We do so by implementing a novel ´´thick recursive modelling´´ approach within the framework of small structural macroeconomic models. At each point in time we estimate all models generated by the combinations of a base-set of $k$ observable regressors. Our econometric procedure delivers 2$^{k}$ models for aggregate demand and supply at any point in time. We compute optimal monetary policies for each of these specifications and then take their average as our benchmark optimal monetary policy. We then compare observed policy rates with those generated by the traditional ´´thin modelling´´ approach to optimal monetary policy and to our proposed ´´thick modelling´´ approach. Our results confirm the difficulty of recovering the deep parameters describing the preferences of the monetary policy makers from their observed behaviour. However, they also show that thick recursive modelling can, at least partially, explain the observed interest rate smoothness.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 196.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:196
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  1. Soderstrom, Ulf, 2002. " Monetary Policy with Uncertain Parameters," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 125-145.
  2. Robert J. Tetlow & Peter von zur Muehlen, 2000. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Rudebusch, Glenn D. & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Eurosystem Monetary Targeting: Lessons from U.S. Data," Working Paper Series 92, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  4. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (Bace) Approach," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 266, OECD Publishing.
  5. Söderström, Ulf, 1999. "Should central banks be more aggressive?," Working Paper Series 84, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  6. Pesaran, M. H. & Timmermann, A., 1996. "A Recursive Modelling Approach to Predicting UK Stock Returns'," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9625, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  8. Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James H., 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty In A Small Model Of The U.S. Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 85-110, February.
  9. Hans M. Amman & David A. Kendrick, . "Computational Economics," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number comp1.
  10. Lars Peter Hansen & Ellen R. McGrattan & Thomas J. Sargent, 1994. "Mechanics of forming and estimating dynamic linear economies," Staff Report 182, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Granger, Clive W. J. & Jeon, Yongil, 2004. "Thick modeling," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 323-343, March.
  12. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Working Paper Series 2001-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. Sack, Brian & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 205-228.
  14. Pesaran, M Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 1995. " Predictability of Stock Returns: Robustness and Economic Significance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1201-1228, September.
  15. Sack, Brian, 2000. "Does the fed act gradually? A VAR analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 229-256, August.
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