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Monetary Policy-making in the Presence of Knightian Uncertainty

Author

Listed:
  • Adam Cagliarini

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Alexandra Heath

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

Abstract

This paper explores the extent to which Knightian uncertainty can explain features of interest rate paths observed in practice that are not generally replicated by models of optimal monetary policy. Interest rates tend to move in a sequence of steps in a given direction, or remain constant for some time, rather than experiencing the frequent reversals that commonly arise from optimal policy simulations. We categorise the types of uncertainty that have been explored to date in terms of the decision-making behaviour they imply. From this, we suggest a more intuitively appealing formulation of Knightian uncertainty than the one that has previously been used in the analysis of monetary policy. Within a very simple optimal control problem, we show that our preferred formalisation is consistent with interest rate paths with periods of no change. This suggests that the presence of Knightian uncertainty may explain some features of monetary policy-makers’ behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Cagliarini & Alexandra Heath, 2000. "Monetary Policy-making in the Presence of Knightian Uncertainty," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2000-10, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2000-10
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    File URL: http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2000/pdf/rdp2000-10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. LeRoy, Stephen F & Singell, Larry D, Jr, 1987. "Knight on Risk and Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 394-406, April.
    2. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1999. "Rethinking the Role of NAIRU in Monetary Policy: Implications of Model Formulation and Uncertainty," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 405-436 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ball, Laurence, 1999. "Efficient Rules for Monetary Policy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 63-83, April.
    4. Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. " Inflation Targeting: Some Extensions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(3), pages 337-361, September.
    5. J. Tetlow, Robert & von zur Muehlen, Peter, 2001. "Robust monetary policy with misspecified models: Does model uncertainty always call for attenuated policy?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 911-949, June.
    6. Sack, Brian, 2000. "Does the fed act gradually? A VAR analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 229-256, August.
    7. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    8. Geoffrey Shuetrim & Christopher Thompson, 2003. "The Implications of Uncertainty for Monetary Policy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(246), pages 370-379, September.
    9. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
    10. Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James H., 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty In A Small Model Of The U.S. Economy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 85-110, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Knightian uncertainty; monetary policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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