Rules versus Discretion
Under a discretionary regime the monetary authority makes no commitments about future money and prices. Then, if surprise inflation conveys economic benefits and if people form expectations rationally, it turns out that the equilibrium involves high and variable monetary growth and inflation. Moreover, since the high rate of inflation is anticipated there are no benefits from inflation surprises. The implementation of an enforced rule can lower the mean rate of inflation while delivering the same average amount of inflation surprises, namely zero. Using these results as a background, the paper discusses alternative monetary rules, including quantity versus price rules and a prescription for stablilizing nominal GNP. This discussion touches on the distinction between positive and normative economics, which leads to a pessimistic appraisal of the role for economists' policy advice.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1984|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Barro, Robert J. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Rules versus Discretion." Economic Journal, Supplement, (1985), pp. 23-37.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Robert J. Barro, 1982.
"Inflationary Finance under Discrepion and Rules,"
NBER Working Papers
0889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Herschel I. Grossman, 1984. "Counterfactuals, Forecasts, and Choice-Theoretic Modelling of Policy," NBER Working Papers 1381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
- Taylor, John B., 1985. "What would nominal GNP targetting do to the business cycle?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-84, January.
- Robert L. Hetzel, 1984. "The formulation of monetary policy," Working Paper 84-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
- Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982.
"Reputation and imperfect information,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
- D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998.
"Inflation and Reputation,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
625, David K. Levine.
- Bennett T. McCallum, 1984.
"Some Issues Concerning Interest Rate Pegging, Price Level Determinacy, and the Real Bills Doctrine,"
NBER Working Papers
1294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- McCallum, Bennett T., 1986. "Some issues concerning interest rate pegging, price level determinacy, and the real bills doctrine," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 135-160, January.
- Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983.
"Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
- Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Weiss, Laurence, 1976. "The Desirability of Cheating Incentives and Randomness in the Optimal Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1343-52, December.
- Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1473. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.