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Targeting Rules vs. Instrument Rules for Monetary Policy: What is Wrong with McCallum and Nelson?

  • Lars E.O. Svensson

McCallum and Nelson's (2004) criticism of targeting rules for the analysis of monetary policy is rebutted. First, McCallum and Nelson's preference to study the robustness of simple monetary-policy rules is no reason at all to limit attention to simple instrument rules; simple targeting rules may have more desirable properties. Second, optimal targeting rules are a compact, robust, and structural description of goal-directed monetary policy, analogous to the compact, robust, and structural consumption Euler conditions in the theory of consumption. They express the very robust condition of equality of the marginal rates of substitution and transformation between the central bank's target variables. Third, under realistic information assumptions, the instrument-rule analogue to any targeting rule that McCallum and Nelson have proposed results in very large instrument-rate volatility and is also for other reasons inferior to a targeting rule.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10747.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Publication status: published as Svensson, Lars E. O. "Targeting Rules Versus Instrument Rules For Monetary Policy: What Is Wrong With McCallum And Nelson?," Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review 87(5): 613-625, Sep/Oct 2005
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10747
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  1. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2004. "Targeting vs. Instrument Rules for Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 10612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. 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.
  4. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2004. "Optimal monetary and fiscal policy: a linear-quadratic approach," Working Paper Series 0345, European Central Bank.
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  7. McCallum, Bennett T., 1999. "Issues in the design of monetary policy rules," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1483-1530 Elsevier.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Robust control of forward-looking models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-604, April.
  9. Benigno, Gianluca & Benigno, Pierpaolo, 2006. "Designing targeting rules for international monetary policy cooperation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 473-506, April.
  10. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2002. "The Role of Output Stabilization in the Conduct of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Walsh, Carl E, 2004. "Robustly Optimal Instrument Rules and Robust Control: An Equivalence Result," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(6), pages 1105-13, December.
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  18. Lars E.O. Svensson & Kjetil Houg & Haakon O.Aa. Solheim & Erling Steigum, 2002. "An Independent Review of Monetary Policy and Institutions in Norway," Working Papers 120, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  19. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 2000. "Making Monetary Policy: Objectives and Rules," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 43-59, Winter.
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  26. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2005. "Targeting versus instrument rules for monetary policy," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 225-245.
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  31. repec:pri:cepsud:82svensson is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Alexei Onatski & Noah Williams, 2010. "Empirical and policy performance of a forward-looking monetary model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 145-176.
  33. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2004. "Optimal Stabilization Policy When Wages and Prices are Sticky: The Case of a Distorted Steady State," NBER Working Papers 10839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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