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Estimating monetary policy reaction functions : A discrete choice approach


  • Jef Boeckx

    () (National Bank of Belgium, Research Department)


I propose a discrete choice method for estimating monetary policy reaction functions based on research by Hu and Phillips (2004). This method distinguishes between determining the underlying desired rate which drives policy rate changes and actually implementing interest rate changes. The method is applied to ECB rate setting between 1999 and 2010 by estimating a forward-looking Taylor rule on a monthly basis using real-time data drawn from the Survey of Professional Forecasters. All parameters are estimated significantly and with the expected sign. Including the period of financial turmoil in the sample delivers a less aggressive policy rule as the ECB was constrained by the lower bound on nominal interest rates. The ECB's non-standard measures helped to circumvent that constraint on monetary policy, however. For the pre-turmoil sample, the discrete choice model's estimated desired policy rate is more aggressive and less gradual than least squares estimates of the same rule specification. This is explained by the fact that the discrete choice model takes account of the fact that central banks change interest rates by discrete amounts. An advantage of using discrete choice models is that probabilities are attached to the different outcomes of every interest rate setting meeting. These probabilities correlate fairly well with the probabilities derived from surveys among commercial bank economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Jef Boeckx, 2011. "Estimating monetary policy reaction functions : A discrete choice approach," Working Paper Research 210, National Bank of Belgium.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbb:reswpp:201102-210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Graciela Kaminsky & Saul Lizondo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 1-48, March.
    2. Phillips, Peter C.B. & Jin, Sainan & Hu, Ling, 2007. "Nonstationary discrete choice: A corrigendum and addendum," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1115-1130, December.
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    4. Athanasios Orphanides, 2011. "Monetary Policy Lessons from the Crisis," Chapters,in: Handbook of Central Banking, Financial Regulation and Supervision, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Jonathan H. Wright, 2009. "Forecasting US inflation by Bayesian model averaging," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 131-144.
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    7. Janko Gorter & Jan Jacobs & Jakob de Haan, 2008. "Taylor Rules for the ECB using Expectations Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(3), pages 473-488, September.
    8. Hu, Ling & Phillips, Peter C. B., 2004. "Nonstationary discrete choice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 103-138, May.
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    13. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
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    16. Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Smoothing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 861-886.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aleksandra Halka, 2016. "How the central bank’s reaction function in small open economies evolved during the crisis," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 47(4), pages 301-318.
    2. Rebeca I. Muñoz Torres & David Shepherd, 2014. "Inflation Targeting and the Consistency of Monetary Policy Decisions in Mexico: an Empirical Analysis with Discrete Choice Models," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82, pages 21-46, December.
    3. Aleksandra Halka, 2015. "Lessons from the crisis.Did central banks do their homework?," NBP Working Papers 224, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    4. Jiang, Chun & Jian, Na & Liu, Tie-Ying & Su, Chi-Wei, 2016. "Purchasing power parity and real exchange rate in Central Eastern European countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 349-358.

    More about this item


    monetary policy reaction functions; discrete choice models; interest rate setting; ECB;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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