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Measuring the time-inconsistency of US monetary policy

  • Paolo Surico

This paper offers an alternative explanation for the great inflation of the 1970s by measuring a novel source of monetary policy time inconsistency. In the presence of asymmetric preferences, the monetary authorities generate a systematic inflation bias through the private-sector expectations of a larger policy response in recessions than in booms. The estimated Fed's implicit target for inflation has declined from the pre- to the post-Volcker regime. The average inflation bias was about 1% before 1979, but this has disappeared over the last two decades, because the preferences on output stabilization were large and asymmetric only in the former period. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2007.

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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mmf:mmfc03:96
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  1. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  2. Paolo Surico, 2004. "Measuring the time-inconsistency of US monetary policy," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 96, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  3. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
  4. Ireland, Peter N., 1999. "Does the time-consistency problem explain the behavior of inflation in the United States?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 279-291, October.
  5. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "What happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-213, October.
  6. Svensson, Lars E O, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 1249, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Alex Cukierman, 2002. "Are contemporary central banks transparent about economic models and objectives and what difference does it make?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 15-36.
  8. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. Paolo Surico, 2002. "Inflation Targeting and Nonlinear Policy Rules: the Case of Asymmetric Preferences," Macroeconomics 0210002, EconWPA, revised 09 Dec 2003.
  10. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2003. "Does the Barro-Gordon model explain the behavior of US inflation? A reexamination of the empirical evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1375-1390, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Cukierman, Alex & Gerlach, Stefan, 2003. "The Inflation Bias Revisited: Theory and Some International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Paolo Surico, 2002. "Uncovering Policy Makers' Loss Function," Macroeconomics 0210003, EconWPA.
  14. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1995. "Measuring Monetary Policy," Economics Series 10, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  15. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Petra M. Geraats, 2000. "Inflation and Its Variation: An Alternative Explanation," Macroeconomics 0004001, EconWPA.
  17. 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.
  18. Bennett T. McCallum, 1996. "Crucial Issues Concerning Central Bank Independence," NBER Working Papers 5597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  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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