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

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  • Davide Debortoli
  • Jinill Kim
  • Jesper Lindé
  • Ricardo C Nunes

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 ensuring a low probability of hitting the zero lower bound on interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Debortoli & Jinill Kim & Jesper Lindé & Ricardo C Nunes, 2017. "Designing a Simple Loss Function for Central Banks; Does a Dual Mandate Make Sense?," IMF Working Papers 17/164, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:17/164
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central banks; Monetary policy; Sticky prices; Sticky wages; Econometric models; Central banks objectives; simple loss function; monetary policy design; sticky prices and sticky wages; DSGE models; Central banks; objectives; Time-Series 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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