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Discretionary Policy, Potential Output Uncertainty, and Optimal Learning

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Abstract

We compare inflation targeting, price level targeting, and speed limit policies when a central bank sets monetary policy under discretion, and must learn about the level of potential output over time. We show that if the central bank learns optimally over time, a speed limit policy dominates [is dominated by] a price level target if society places a high [low] weight on inflation stability. Inefficient learning on the part of the central bank can radically change this conclusion. A speed limit policy is favoured if the central bank places too much weight on recent data when estimating potential output, while a price level target is favoured if the central bank places too much weight on historical data.

Suggested Citation

  • James Yetman, 2005. "Discretionary Policy, Potential Output Uncertainty, and Optimal Learning," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2005/07, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbdps:2005/07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Monetary policy, parameter uncertainty and optimal learning," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 199-228, August.
    3. Orphanides, Athanasios & Porter, Richard D. & Reifschneider, David & Tetlow, Robert & Finan, Frederico, 2000. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 117-141.
    4. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
    5. Yetman, James, 2006. "Are speed limit policies robust?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 665-679, December.
    6. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
    7. Henrik Jensen, 2002. "Targeting Nominal Income Growth or Inflation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 928-956, September.
    8. Currie,David & Levine,Paul, 2009. "Rules, Reputation and Macroeconomic Policy Coordination," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521104609.
    9. William Poole, 1998. "A policymaker confronts uncertainty," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 3-8.
    10. Vestin, David, 2000. "Price-level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting in a Forward-looking Model," Working Paper Series 106, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    11. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "Price-Level Targeting versus Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 277-295, August.
    12. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 605-631, April.
    13. Craine, Roger, 1979. "Optimal monetary policy with uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 59-83, February.
    14. Carl E. Walsh, 2003. "Implications of a changing economic structure for the strategy of monetary policy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 297-348.
    15. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 63-146.
    16. Yetman, James, 2005. "The credibility of the monetary policy "free lunch"," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 434-451, September.
    17. Robert Dittmar & William T. Gavin, 2000. "What do New-Keynesian Phillips Curves imply for price-level targeting?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 82(Mar), pages 21-30.
    18. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Is The Fed Too Timid? Monetary Policy In An Uncertain World," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 203-217, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2007. "Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting: An Introduction," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.),Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 1, pages 001-022, Central Bank of Chile.

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    JEL classification:

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

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