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Why Are Target Interest Rate Changes So Persistent?

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  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

Abstract

While the degree of policy inertia in central banks' reaction functions is a central ingredient in theoretical and empirical monetary economics, the source of the observed policy inertia in the U.S. is controversial, with tests of competing hypotheses such as interest-smoothing and persistent-shocks theories being inconclusive. This paper employs real time data; nested specifications with flexible time series structures; narratives; interest rate forecasts of the Fed, financial markets, and professional forecasters; and instrumental variables to discriminate competing explanations of policy inertia. The presented evidence strongly favors the interest-smoothing explanation and thus can help resolve a key puzzle in monetary economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Why Are Target Interest Rate Changes So Persistent?," NBER Working Papers 16707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16707
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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