The Lags of Monetary Policy
The length of the transmission lags from monetary policy to output has been the subject of much research over the years, but there are serious problems in isolating the lags with any precision. This paper uses a simple model of Australian output to estimate the length of the lags, and then examines how attempts to grapple with the estimation problems might change the results. We estimate that output growth falls by about one-third of one per cent in both the first and second years after a one percentage point rise in the short-term real interest rate, and by about one-sixth of one per cent in the third year. This implies an average lag of about five or six quarters in monetary policy’s impact on output growth. Each of these estimates is, however, subject to considerable uncertainty. We discuss the implications for policy of these relatively long and uncertain lags. Finally, we find no evidence that the average lag from monetary policy to output growth has become any shorter in the 1990s.
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