IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Imperfect Knowledge, Inflation Expectations, and Monetary Policy

  • Athanasios Orphanides
  • John C. Williams

This paper investigates the role that imperfect knowledge about the structure of the economy plays in the formation of expectations, macroeconomic dynamics, and the efficient formulation of monetary policy. Economic agents rely on an adaptive learning technology to form expectations and to update continuously their beliefs regarding the dynamic structure of the economy based on incoming data. The process of perpetual learning introduces an additional layer of dynamic interaction between monetary policy and economic outcomes. We find that policies that would be efficient under rational expectations can perform poorly when knowledge is imperfect. In particular, policies that fail to maintain tight control over inflation are prone to episodes in which the public's expectations of inflation become uncoupled from the policy objective and stagflation results, in a pattern similar to that experienced in the United States during the 1970s. Our results highlight the value of effective communication of a central bank's inflation objective and of continued vigilance against inflation in anchoring inflation expectations and fostering macroeconomic stability.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9884.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9884.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Orphanides, Athanasios and John C. Williams. "Inflation Scares And Forecast-Based Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, 2005, v8(2,Apr), 498-527.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9884
Note: ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2005. "Inflation scares and forecast-based monetary policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 498-527, April.
  2. Woodford, Michael, 1986. "Learning to Believe in Sunspots," Working Papers 86-16, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary Policy Rules, Macroeconomic Stability, and Inflation: A View from the Trenches," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 151-75, April.
  4. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J., 1989. "Convergence of least squares learning mechanisms in self-referential linear stochastic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 337-368, August.
  5. Lengwiler, Yvan & Orphanides, Athanasios, 2002. " Optimal Discretion," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(2), pages 261-76, June.
  6. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Fuhrer, Jeff & Moore, George, 1995. "Inflation Persistence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 127-59, February.
  8. Christopher D Carroll, 2001. "The Epidemiology of Macroeconomic Expectations," Economics Working Paper Archive 462, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  9. Sharon Kozicki & P.A.Tinsley, 2001. "What do you expect? : imperfect policy credibility and tests of the expectations hypothesis?," Research Working Paper RWP 01-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  10. Tetlow, Robert J. & von zur Muehlen, Peter, 2001. "Simplicity versus optimality: The choice of monetary policy rules when agents must learn," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 245-279, January.
  11. John M. Roberts, 1994. "Is inflation sticky?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 152, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Evans, George W & Ramey, Garey, 2001. "Adaptive Expectations, Underparameterization and the Lucas Critique," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt41f2h196, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  13. Townsend, Robert M, 1978. "Market Anticipations, Rational Expectations, and Bayesian Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 481-94, June.
  14. Lawrence J. Christiano & Christopher Gust, 2000. "The expectations trap hypothesis," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 21-39.
  15. Anderson, T W & Taylor, John B, 1976. "Some Experimental Results on the Statistical Properties of Least Squares Estimates in Control Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1289-1302, November.
  16. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Working Paper Series 2003-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  17. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Estimation and Control of a Macroeconomic Model with Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1267-86, September.
  18. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 605-631, April.
  19. Flint Brayton & John M. Roberts & John C. Williams, 1999. "What's happened to the Phillips curve?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-49, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 5893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Craine, Roger, 1979. "Optimal monetary policy with uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-83, February.
  22. Friedman, Benjamin M., 1979. "Optimal expectations and the extreme information assumptions of `rational expectations' macromodels," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 23-41, January.
  23. Clark, Peter B. & Goodhart, Charles A. E. & Huang, Haizhou, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy rules in a rational expectations model of the Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 497-520, April.
  24. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1986. "Adaptive Behavior and Economic Theory," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S401-26, October.
  25. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1988. "The Fate of Systems with "Adaptive" Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 168-72, May.
  26. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  27. Erceg, Christopher J. & Levin, Andrew T., 2003. "Imperfect credibility and inflation persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 915-944, May.
  28. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 1999. "Inflation zone targeting," Working Paper Series 0008, European Central Bank.
  29. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations Of Households And Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298, February.
  30. Roberts John M., 2005. "How Well Does the New Keynesian Sticky-Price Model Fit the Data?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-39, September.
  31. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation Dynamics: A Structural Economic Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  32. Flint Brayton & Eileen Mauskopf & David Reifschneider & Peter Tinsley & John Williams, 1997. "The role of expectations in the FRB/US macroeconomic model," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 227-245.
  33. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  34. Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2005. "New tests of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1167-1181, September.
  35. Balvers, Ronald J & Cosimano, Thomas F, 1994. "Inflation Variability and Gradualist Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 721-38, October.
  36. Kaushik Mitra & James Bullard, . "Learning About Monetary Policy Rules," Discussion Papers 00/41, Department of Economics, University of York.
  37. Blume, Lawrence E. & Easley, David, 1982. "Learning to be rational," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 340-351, April.
  38. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Scholarly Articles 3415324, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  39. Laurence Ball, 2000. "Near-Rationality and Inflation in Two Monetary Regimes," Economics Working Paper Archive 435, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  40. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
  41. Orphanides, Athanasios, 1999. "The Quest for Prosperity Without Inflation," Working Paper Series 93, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  42. Taylor, John B, 1975. "Monetary Policy during a Transition to Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 1009-21, October.
  43. Andrew Levin & Volker Wieland & John Williams, 2000. "The Performance Of Forecast-Based Monetary Policy Rules Under Model Uncertainty," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 203, Society for Computational Economics.
  44. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1996. "How Precise are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Working Papers 5477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the natural rate of interest," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  46. Bray, Margaret, 1982. "Learning, estimation, and the stability of rational expectations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 318-339, April.
  47. Wieland, Volker, 2003. "Monetary Policy and Uncertainty about the Natural Unemployment Rate," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/05, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  48. John M. Roberts, 1998. "Inflation expectations and the transmission of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-43, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  49. Buiter, Willem H & Jewitt, Ian, 1981. "Staggered Wage Setting with Real Wage Relativities: Variations on a Theme of Taylor," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 49(3), pages 211-28, September.
  50. Antulio Bomfim & Robert Tetlow & Peter Von Zur Muehlen & John Williams, 1997. "Expectations, learning and the costs of disinflation: experiments using the FRB/US model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  51. Gaspar, Vitor & Smets, Frank, 2002. "Monetary Policy, Price Stability and Output Gap Stabilization," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 193-211, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9884. 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.