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The stabilisation problem: the case of New Zealand

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Abstract

This paper examines stabilisation bias - the difference between the inferior macroeconomic outcomes attained with discretionary monetary policy relative to the ideal that could be attained with commitment policy. The paper works within the linear-quadratic framework and represents the monetary policy problem for the central bank as setting the interest rate in order to minimise an explicit loss function for macroeconomic variables. The government's problem is one of "optimal negotiation", whereby the government, representing society, joins with the central bank to search for the optimal set of loss function parameters to be embedded in a contract with the central bank. The framework, due to Rogoff (1985), is usefully applied to the case of New Zealand where recent Policy Target Agreements - contracts between the government and the central bank - are interpreted as representing society's preferences between inflation, output and other dimensions of macroeconomic stability. Within the context of an estimated, small open economy model, a sizeable stabilisation bias is found for New Zealand. Substantial reductions in the stabilisation bias can be achieved by strategic optimal delegation behaviour on the part of the government. It transpires that the weight the central bank should have on the variance of the output gap is considerably lower than the weight society places on the variance of the output gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirdan Lees, 2003. "The stabilisation problem: the case of New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2003/08, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbdps:2003/08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Richard Dennis, 2003. "Exploring the Role of the Real Exchange Rate in Australian Monetary Policy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(244), pages 20-38, March.
    3. Carl Walsh, 2003. "Speed Limit Policies: The Output Gap and Optimal Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 265-278, March.
    4. Kenneth West, 2003. "Monetary policy and the volatility of real exchange rates in New Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 175-196.
    5. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-286, March.
    6. Amato, Jeffery D. & Laubach, Thomas, 2004. "Implications of habit formation for optimal monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 305-325, March.
    7. Paul Levine & Joseph Pearlman, 2002. "Delegation and Fiscal Policy in the Open Economy: More Bad News for Rogoff's Delegation Game," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 153-174, April.
    8. Gaspar, Vitor & Smets, Frank, 2002. "Monetary Policy, Price Stability and Output Gap Stabilization," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 193-211, Summer.
    9. Dennis, Richard & Soderstrom, Ulf, 2006. "How Important Is Precommitment for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(4), pages 847-872, June.
    10. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
    11. Henrik Jensen, 2002. "Targeting Nominal Income Growth or Inflation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 928-956, September.
    12. David Hargreaves, 2003. "Monetary policy and the volatility of real exchange rates in New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 66, pages 1-2, September.
    13. Alfred Guender, 2005. "On discretion versus commitment and the role of the direct exchange rate channel in a forward-looking open economy model," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 355-377.
    14. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 1999. "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 296-316, August.
    15. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-167, March.
    16. Adolfson, Malin, 2002. "Implications of Exchange Rate Objectives under Incomplete Exchange Rate Pass-Through," Working Paper Series 135, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
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    Cited by:

    1. Lees, Kirdan, 2007. "How large are the gains to commitment policy and optimal delegation for New Zealand?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 959-975, December.
    2. Philip Liu, 2006. "A Small New Keynesian Model of the New Zealand economy," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2006/03, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    3. Jacek Krawczyk & Rishab Sethi, 2007. "Satisficing Solutions for New Zealand Monetary Policy," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2007/03, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    4. Lees, Kirdan & Warburton, Sam, 2010. "A happy "half way-house"? Medium term inflation targeting in New Zealand," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 819-839, September.
    5. Dominick Stephens, 2006. "Should monetary policy attempt to reduce exchange rate volatility in New Zealand?," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2006/05, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

    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
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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