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Targeting vs. Instrument Rules for Monetary Policy

  • Bennett T. McCallum
  • Edward Nelson

Svensson (JEL, 2003) argues strongly that specific targeting rules first order optimality conditions for a specific objective function and model are normatively superior to instrument rules for the conduct of monetary policy. That argument is based largely upon four main objections to the latter plus a claim concerning the relative interest-instrument variability entailed by the two approaches. The present paper considers the four objections in turn, and advances arguments that contradict all of them. Then in the paper's analytical sections, it is demonstrated that the variability claim is incorrect, for a neo-canonical model and also for a variant with one-period-ahead plans used by Svensson, providing that the same decision-making errors are relevant under the two alternative approaches. Arguments relating to general targeting rules and actual central bank practice are also included.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10612.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Publication status: published as McCallum, Bennett T. and Edward Nelson. "Targeting Versus Instrument Rules For Monetary Policy," FRB St. Louis - Review, 2005, v87(5,Sep/Oct), 597-611.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10612
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John C. Williams, 1998. "Robustness of simple monetary policy rules under model uncertainty," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  3. 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.
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  5. Professor Lars E O Svensson, 2001. "Independent review of the operation of monetary policy in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 64, March.
  6. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 2000. "Monetary Policy for an Open Economy: An Alternative Framework with Optimizing Agents and Sticky Prices," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 74-91, Winter.
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  8. Svensson, L-E-O, 1996. "Inflation Forecast Targeting : Implementaing and Monitoring Inflation Targets," Papers 615, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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  10. Dale W. Henderson & Warwick J. McKibbin, 1993. "A comparison of some basic monetary policy regimes for open economies: implications of different degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence," International Finance Discussion Papers 458, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. McCallum, Bennett T. & Nelson, Edward, 1999. "Nominal income targeting in an open-economy optimizing model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 553-578, June.
  12. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
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  14. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
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  18. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. David Longworth & Brian O´Reilly, 2002. "The Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism and Policy Rules in Canada," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy: Rules and Transmission Mechanisms, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 13, pages 357-392 Central Bank of Chile.
  21. Carl Walsh, 2001. "Speed Limit Policies: The Output Gap and Optimal Monetary Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 609, CESifo Group Munich.
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  23. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 2001. "Timeless Perspective Vs Discretionary Monetary Policy in Forward-Looking Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 2752, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  27. Lars E. O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Implementing Optimal Policy through Inflation-Forecast Targeting," NBER Working Papers 9747, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Commentary : how should monetary policy be conducted in an era of price stability?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 277-316.
  29. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, November.
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  32. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  33. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Optimal Monetary Policy in Open versus Closed Economies: An Integrated Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 248-252, May.
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