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Managing Disinflation under Uncertainty

Author

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  • Mewael F. Tesfaselassie
  • Eric Schaling

Abstract

In this paper we analyze disinflation policy when a central bank has imperfect information about private sector inflation expectations but learns about them from economic outcomes, which are in part the result of the disinflation policy itself. The form of uncertainty is manifested as uncertainty about the effect of pastdisinflation policy on the current output gap. This differs from other studies on learning and control in a monetary policy context (e.g. Ellison (2006) and Svensson and Williams (2007)) that assume uncertainty about the effects of current policy actions on the economy. We derive the central bank's optimal disinflation strategy under active learning (DOP) and compare it with two limiting cases - certainty equivalence policy (CEP), or passive learning, and a Brainard-style cautionary monetary policy (CP). It turns out that under the DOP inflation stays between the levels implied by the CEP and the CP. A novel result - e.g. unlike Beck and Wieland (2002)| is that this holds irrespective of the initial level of inflation. At high levels of inherited inflation the DOP moves closer to the CEP, at low levels of inherited inflation the DOP resembles the CP.

Suggested Citation

  • Mewael F. Tesfaselassie & Eric Schaling, 2009. "Managing Disinflation under Uncertainty," Working Papers 145, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:145
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Cogley & Riccardo Colacito & Thomas J. Sargent, 2007. "Benefits from U.S. Monetary Policy Experimentation in the Days of Samuelson and Solow and Lucas," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 67-99, February.
    2. Yetman, James, 2003. "Probing potential output: Monetary policy, credibility, and optimal learning under uncertainty," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 311-330, September.
    3. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 1993. "Learning, experimentation, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 169-183, August.
    4. Ellison, Martin & Valla, Natacha, 2001. "Learning, uncertainty and central bank activism in an economy with strategic interactions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 153-171, August.
    5. Mewael F. Tesfaselassie & Eric Schaling & Sylvester Eijffinger, 2011. "Learning about the Term Structure and Optimal Rules for Inflation Targeting," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(8), pages 1685-1706, December.
    6. Ellison, Martin, 2006. "The learning cost of interest rate reversals," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1895-1907, November.
    7. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Williams, Noah, 2006. "Bayesian and adaptive optimal policy under model uncertainty," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/11, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    8. Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Learning by doing and the value of optimal experimentation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 501-534, April.
    9. Beck, Gunter W. & Wieland, Volker, 2002. "Learning and control in a changing economic environment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(9-10), pages 1359-1377, August.
    10. Schaling, Eric, 2003. "Learning, inflation expectations and optimal monetary policy," Research Discussion Papers 20/2003, Bank of Finland.
    11. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1988. "The Fate of Systems with "Adaptive" Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 168-172, May.
    12. Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Monetary policy, parameter uncertainty and optimal learning," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 199-228, August.
    13. Bomfim, Antulio N & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 2000. "Opportunistic and Deliberate Disinflation under Imperfect Credibility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 707-721, November.
    14. Pu Chen & Carl Chiarella & Peter Flaschel & Willi Semmler, 2006. "Keynesian Macrodynamics and the Phillips Curve. An Estimated Baseline Macromodel for the U.S. Economy," Working Paper Series 147, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    15. Eric Schaling & Marco Hoeberichts, 2010. "Why Speed Doesn’t Kill: Learning to Believe in Disinflation," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 23-42, April.
    16. Easley, David & Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Controlling a Stochastic Process with Unknown Parameters," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1045-1064, September.
    17. Ronald J. Balvers & Thomas F. Cosimano, 1994. "Inflation Variability and Gradualist Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 721-738.
    18. Kiefer, Nicholas M & Nyarko, Yaw, 1989. "Optimal Control of an Unknown Linear Process with Learning," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(3), pages 571-586, August.
    19. Tesfaselassie, M.F., 2005. "Communication, learning and optimal monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 33c69063-eed7-4938-9f51-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Neuenkirch, Matthias & Tillmann, Peter, 2014. "Inflation targeting, credibility, and non-linear Taylor rules," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 30-45.
    2. repec:eee:reveco:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:196-244 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tesfaselassie, Mewael F., 2008. "Central bank learning and monetary policy," Kiel Working Papers 1444, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Learning; Inflation Expectations; Disinflation Policy; Separation Principle; Kalman Filter; Optimal Control; Dynamic Programming;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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