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Should Monetary Policy Respond Strongly to Output Gaps?

  • Bennett T. McCallum

Much recent monetary policy analysis has featured stochastic simulations with small structural macroeconomic models that include: a spending vs. saving ( IS') sector; a price-adjustment sector; and an interest rate policy rule. The first two are frequently specified so as to reflect optimizing behavior; policy may or may not be specified as optimizing depending on the study's objectives. Some leading issues concern modifications to simple quantitative optimizing models that are needed to generate realistic degrees of persistence in inflation and output-gap variables. A major policy issue is whether it is desirable for monetary policy to respond strongly to the output gap. The paper argues that the latter is unobservable and considers the implications of using a trend-type measure while the true concept is of a type more in keeping with basic theory. In such circumstances, highly undesirable consequences are likely to ensue if policy responds strongly to the measured gap.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8226.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8226.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
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Publication status: published as McCallum, Bennett T. "Should Monetary Policy Respond Strongly To Output Gaps?," American Economic Review, 2001, v91(2,May), 258-262.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8226
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Fuhrer, Jeff & Moore, George, 1995. "Inflation Persistence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 127-59, February.
  2. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy rules for inflation targeting," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  3. King, Robert G. & Wolman, Alexander L., 2013. "Inflation Targeting in a St. Louis Model of the 21st Century," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 543-574.
  4. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 1998. "Performance of operational policy rules in an estimated semi-classical structural model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  6. Orphanides, Athanasios, 1999. "The Quest for Prosperity Without Inflation," Working Paper Series 93, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  7. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "Interest Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 57-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christiano, Lawrence J, 2000. "Comment on Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 905-30, November.
  9. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  10. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  11. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
  12. Wallace, Neil, 2000. "Comment on Theoretical Analysis Regarding a Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 931-35, November.
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