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The perils of Taylor Rules

  • Jess Benhabib


    (New York University)

  • Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe


    (Rutgers University)

  • Martin Uribe


    (University of Pennsylvania)

Since John Taylor's (1993) seminal paper, a large literature has argued that active interest rate feedback rules, that is, rules that respond to increases in inflation with a more than one-for-one increase in the nominal interest rate, are stabilizing. In this paper, we argue that once the zero bound on nominal interest rates is taken into account, active interest-rate feedback rules can easily lead to unexpected consequences. Specifically, in the context of a sticky-price model, we show that even if the steady state at which monetary policy is active is locally the unique equilibrium, typically there exists an infinite number of equilibrium trajectories originating arbitrarily close to that steady state that converge either to another steady state at which monetary policy is passive or to a stable limit cycle around the active steady state. We conclude that the use of local techniques for monetary policy evaluation might lead to spurious policy recommendations.

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Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 199831.

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Date of creation: 09 Nov 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199831
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  1. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1984. "Money and Interest in Cash-In-Advance Economy," Discussion Papers 628, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  3. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2000. "Price level determinacy and monetary policy under a balanced-budget requirement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 211-246, February.
  4. Sbordone, Argia M., 2002. "Prices and unit labor costs: a new test of price stickiness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 265-292, March.
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  7. Jess Benhabib & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 1999. "Monetary Policy and Multiple Equilibria," Departmental Working Papers 199914, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  8. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern97-1, July.
  9. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "Interest Rate Rules in an Estimated Sticky Price Model," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 57-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. John B. Taylor, 1999. "A Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 319-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg (ed.), 1997. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026252242x, June.
  13. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  16. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Andrew T.. Levin & Volker Wieland & John Williams, 1999. "Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules under Model Uncertainty," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 263-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
  19. Taylor, John B., 1999. "The robustness and efficiency of monetary policy rules as guidelines for interest rate setting by the European central bank," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 655-679, June.
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  21. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," Working Papers 97-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  23. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
  24. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  25. Taylor, J.B., 1998. "The Robustness and Efficiency of Monetary Policy Rules as Guidelines for Interest Rate Setting by European Central Bank," Papers 649, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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  1. Advanced Monetary Theory and Policy (ECON 447)

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