Dove or Hawk? characterizing monetary regime switches during financial liberalization in India
The last decade has seen a worldwide move by emerging markets to adopt explicit or implicit inflation targeting regimes. A notable and often discussed exception to this trend, of course, is China which follows pegged exchange rate regime supported by capital controls. Another major exception is India. It is not clear how to characterize the monetary regime or identify the nominal monetary anchor in India. Is central bank policy in India following a predictable rule that is heavily influenced by a quasi inflation target? To address this point, we investigate monetary policy regime change in India using a Markov switching model to estimate a time-varying Taylor-type rule for the Reserve Bank of India. We find that the conduct of monetary policy over the last two decades can be characterized by two regimes, which we term ‘hawk’ and ‘dove.’ In the first of these regimes, the central bank reveals a greater relative (though not absolute) weight on controlling inflation vis-à-vis narrowing the output gap. The central bank was in the “dove” regime about half of the sample period, during these episodes focusing more on the output gap and exchange rate targets to stimulate exports, rather than on moderating inflation. India is following its own direction in the conduct of monetary policy, seemingly not overly influenced by the emphasis on quasi-inflation targeting seen in many emerging markets.
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