IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Estimating Central Bank Preferences under Commitment and Discretion

  • Gregory Erin Givens

This paper explains US macroeconomic outcomes with an empirical new-Keynesian model in which monetary policy minimizes the central bank's loss function. The presence of expectations in the model forms a well-known distinction between two modes of optimization, termed commitment and discretion. I estimate the model separately under each policy using maximum likelihood over the Volcker-Greenspan-Bernanke period. Comparisons of fit reveal that the data favor the specification with discretionary policy. Estimates of the loss function weights point to an excessive concern for interest rate smoothing in the commitment model but a more balanced concern relative to inflation and output stability in the discretionary model.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 200905.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200905
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2006. "Monetary Policy Inertia: Fact or Fiction?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(4), December.
  2. Michael T. Kiley, 2006. "A quantitative comparison of sticky-price and sticky-information models of price setting," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Roberts John M., 2005. "How Well Does the New Keynesian Sticky-Price Model Fit the Data?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-39, September.
  4. Linde, Jesper, 2005. "Estimating New-Keynesian Phillips curves: A full information maximum likelihood approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1135-1149, September.
  5. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  6. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2002. "Estimating the Euler equation for output," Working Papers 02-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  7. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, . "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," GSIA Working Papers 1997-71, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  8. Rudebusch, G.D. & Svensson, L.E.O., 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Papers 637, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  9. Ulf Soderstrom & Richard Dennis, 2003. "How Important is Precommitment for Monetary Policy?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 49, Society for Computational Economics.
  10. Svensson, L.E.O., 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," Papers 646, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  11. Ulf Söderström & Paul Söderlind & Anders Vredin, 2005. "New-Keynesian Models and Monetary Policy: A Re-examination of the Stylized Facts," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 521-546, 09.
  12. Levin, Andrew T. & Williams, John C., 2003. "Robust monetary policy with competing reference models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 945-975, July.
  13. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf & Kenneth D. West, 2003. "Policy Evaluation in Uncertain Economic Environments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 235-322.
  14. Henrik Jensen, . "Targeting Nominal Income Growth or Inflation?," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-23, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  15. Philip Lowe & Luci Ellis, 1997. "The Smoothing of Official Interest Rates," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Philip Lowe (ed.), Monetary Policy and Inflation Targeting Reserve Bank of Australia.
  16. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2007. "Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 728-752, April.
  17. Pelin Ilbas, 2008. "Estimation of monetary policy preferences in a forward-looking model : a Bayesian approach," Working Paper Research 129, National Bank of Belgium.
  18. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "The science of monetary policy: A new Keynesian perspective," Economics Working Papers 356, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 1999.
  19. Favero, Carlo A & Rovelli, Riccardo, 2003. " Macroeconomic Stability and the Preferences of the Fed: A Formal Analysis, 1961-98," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 545-56, August.
  20. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 5893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Pelin Ilbas, 2012. "Revealing the preferences of the US Federal Reserve," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 440-473, 04.
  22. 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.
  23. Andrea Tambalotti & Ernst Schaumburg, 2004. "An Investigation of the Gains from Commitment in Monetary Policy," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 282, Econometric Society.
  24. Ingram, B.F. & Kocherlakota, N.R. & Savin, N.E., 1992. "Explaining Business Cycles : A Multiple Shock Approach," Working Papers 92-09, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  25. 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.
  26. Salemi, Michael K., 2006. "Econometric Policy Evaluation and Inverse Control," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(7), pages 1737-1764, October.
  27. Richard Dennis, 2003. "Inferring policy objectives from economic outcomes," Working Paper Series 2003-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  28. Marvin Goodfriend, 2003. "Inflation Targeting in the United States?," NBER Working Papers 9981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
  30. Castelnuovo Efrem, 2006. "The Fed's Preference for Policy Rate Smoothing: Overestimation Due to Misspecification?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-22, August.
  31. Givens, Gregory E. & Salemi, Michael K., 2008. "Generalized method of moments and inverse control," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 3113-3147, October.
  32. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1995. "Inflation Persistence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 127-159.
  33. 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.
  34. Ozlale, Umit, 2003. "Price stability vs. output stability: tales of federal reserve administrations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1595-1610, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200905. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (E. Anthon Eff)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.