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Measuring the time-inconsistency of US monetary policy

  • Paolo Surico

This paper offers an alternative explanation for the behavior of postwar US inflation by measuring a novel source of monetary policy time- inconsistency due to Cukierman (2002). In the presence of asymmetric preferences, the monetary authorities end up generating a systematic inflation bias through the private sector expectations of a larger policy response in recessions than in booms. Reduced-form estimates of US monetary policy rules indicate that while the inflation target declines from the pre- to the post-Volcker regime, the average inflation bias, which is about one percent before 1979, tends to disappear over the last two decades. This result can be rationalized in terms of the preference on output stabilization, which is found to be large and asymmetric in the former but not in the latter period.

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Paper provided by Money Macro and Finance Research Group in its series Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 with number 96.

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Date of creation: 27 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:mmf:mmfc03:96
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.essex.ac.uk/afm/mmf/index.html

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  1. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
  3. Peter N. Ireland, 1998. "Does the Time-Consistency Problem Explain the Behavior of Inflation in the United States?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 415, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. RUGE-MURCIA, Francisco J., 2002. "Does the Barro-Gordon Model Explain the Behavior of US Inflation? a Reexamination of the Empirical Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 2002-07, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  5. Paolo Surico, 2004. "Measuring the Time-Inconsistency of US Monetary Policy," Macroeconomics 0401006, EconWPA.
  6. Paolo Surico, 2002. "Uncovering Policy Makers' Loss Function," Macroeconomics 0210003, EconWPA.
  7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Cukierman, Alex & Gerlach, Stefan, 2003. "The Inflation Bias Revisited: Theory and Some International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Bennett T. McCallum, 1996. "Crucial Issues Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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 473-91, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Paolo Surico, 2004. "Inflation Targeting and Nonlinear Policy Rules: the Case of Asymmetric Preferences," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 108, Society for Computational Economics.
  13. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "What happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-213, October.
  14. Cukierman, Alex, 2001. "Are Contemporary Central Banks Transparent about Economic Models and Objectives and What Difference Does it Make?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2001,05, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  15. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 1998. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," FMG Discussion Papers dp306, Financial Markets Group.
  16. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 2003. "Optimal Discretionary Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 657-665, 07.
  17. Petra M. Geraats, 2000. "Inflation and Its Variation: An Alternative Explanation," Macroeconomics 0004001, EconWPA.
  18. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  19. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902.
  20. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
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