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: |
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, 1983.
"Inflationary Finance under Discretion and Rules,"
Canadian Journal of Economics,
Canadian Economics Association, vol. 16(1), pages 1-16, February.
- Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982.
"Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital,"
532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- 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.
- D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998.
"Inflation and Reputation,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
625, David K. Levine.
- David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999.
"Reputation and Imperfect Information,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
238, David K. Levine.
- Robert L. Hetzel, 1984. "The formulation of monetary policy," Working Paper 84-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
- 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.
- 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.
- Herschel I. Grossman, 1984. "Counterfactuals, Forecasts, and Choice-Theoretic Modelling of Policy," NBER Working Papers 1381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.