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What Rule for the Federal Reserve? Forecast Targeting

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  • Lars E.O. Svensson

Abstract

How would the policy rule of forecast targeting work for the Federal Reserve? To what extent is the Federal Reserve already practicing forecast targeting? Forecast targeting means selecting a policy rate and policy-rate path so that the forecasts of inflation and employment “look good,” in the sense of best fulfilling the dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment, that is, best stabilize inflation around the inflation target and employment around its maximum level. It also means publishing the policy-rate path and the forecasts of inflation and employment forecasts and, importantly, explaining and justifying them. This justification may involve demonstrations that other policy-rate paths would lead to worse mandate fulfillment. Publication and justification will contribute to making the policy-rate path and the forecasts credible with the financial market and other economic agents and thereby more effectively implement the Federal Reserve's policy. With such information made public, external observers can review Federal Reserve policy, both in real time and after the outcomes for inflation and employment have been observed, and the Federal Reserve can be held accountable for fulfilling its mandate. In contrast to simple policy rules that rely on very partial information in a rigid way, such as Taylor-type rules, forecast targeting allows all relevant information to be taken into account and has the flexibility and robustness to adapt to new circumstances. Forecast targeting can also handle issues of time consistency and determinacy. The Federal Reserve is arguably to a considerable extent already practicing forecast targeting.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars E.O. Svensson, 2017. "What Rule for the Federal Reserve? Forecast Targeting," NBER Working Papers 23993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23993
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1997. "Inflation forecast targeting: Implementing and monitoring inflation targets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1111-1146, June.
    2. Lars E.O. Svensson & Stefan Laseen, 2009. "Anticipated Alternative Instrument-Rate Paths in Policy Simulations," 2009 Meeting Papers 788, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Currie,David & Levine,Paul, 2009. "Rules, Reputation and Macroeconomic Policy Coordination," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521104609, July - De.
    4. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2003. "What Is Wrong with Taylor Rules? Using Judgment in Monetary Policy through Targeting Rules," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 426-477, June.
    5. Lars E O Svensson, 2005. "Monetary Policy with Judgment: Forecast Targeting," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
    6. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: A General Approach," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000246, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2010. "Monetary Policy and Financial Markets at the Effective Lower Bound," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(s1), pages 229-242, September.
    8. Michael Woodford, 2007. "The Case for Forecast Targeting as a Monetary Policy Strategy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
    9. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 97-116, Spring.
    11. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000384, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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