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Credit Spreads and Monetary Policy

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  • Vasco Cúrdia
  • Michael Woodford

Abstract

We consider the desirability of modifying a standard Taylor rule for a central bank's interest-rate policy to incorporate either an adjustment for changes in interest-rate spreads (as proposed by Taylor [2008] and by McCulley and Toloui [2008]) or a response to variations in the aggregate volume of credit (as proposed by Christiano et al. [2007]). We consider the consequences of such adjustments for the way in which policy would respond to a variety of types of possible economic disturbances, including (but not limited to) disturbances originating in the financial sector that increase equilibrium spreads and contract the supply of credit. We conduct our analysis using the simple DSGE model with credit frictions developed in Curdia and Woodford (2009), and compare the equilibrium responses to a variety of disturbances under the modified Taylor rules to those under a policy that would maximize average expected utility. According to our model, a spread adjustment can improve upon the standard Taylor rule, but the optimal size is unlikely to be as large as the one proposed, and the same type of adjustment is not desirable regardless of the source of the variation in credit spreads. A response to credit is less likely to be helpful, and the desirable size (and even the right sign) of the response to credit is less robust to alternative assumptions about the nature and persistence of disturbances.

Suggested Citation

  • Vasco Cúrdia & Michael Woodford, 2009. "Credit Spreads and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 15289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15289
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2005. "Inflation Stabilization And Welfare: The Case Of A Distorted Steady State," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1185-1236, December.
    2. John B. Taylor & John C. Williams, 2009. "A black swan in the money market," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jan.
    3. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2009. "Monetary Policy Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262513374, March.
    4. John B. Taylor, 2007. "Housing and monetary policy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 463-476.
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    6. Goodfriend, Marvin & McCallum, Bennett T., 2007. "Banking and interest rates in monetary policy analysis: A quantitative exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1480-1507, July.
    7. 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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    17. Christiano, Lawrence & Motto, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo & Ilut, Cosmin, 2008. "Monetary policy and stock market boom-bust cycles," Working Paper Series 955, European Central Bank.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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