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Habit Formation and Interest Rate Smoothing

  • Luisa Corrado

    ()

  • Sean Holly

    ()

Following a conjecture of Kozicki and Tinsley (2002) we generalise the habit formation model of consumption to allow for both a multiplicative utility function and a habit-aspiration function which is a geometrically weighted average of past consumption. The geometric form of the aspiration function addresses the recent concerns of Wendner (2002) who shows that a combination of a multiplicative utility function and an aspiration function that is an arithmetic weighted average of past consumption violates some important assumptions of utility theory. In addition, the geometric form allows us to derive an optimising model of the IS-PC form in which there is a greater degree of inertia in both inflation and output that arises from the role given to habit formation. Because the welfare function of the policymaker is that of the representative agent, and consumers dislike large changes in consumption relative to the level of consumption to which they aspire, the optimal (one-period) rule penalises changes in income and also responds sluggishly to shocks. This goes some way towards accounting for the common observation that the responses of output and inflation to shocks are drawn out, and the interest rate used for policy is persistent. We calibrate the model and find that we can replicate the persistence in interest rate setting by a monetary authority over and above that attributable to the persistence in inflation and the output gap.

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File URL: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/economics/CDMA/papers/cp0404.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis in its series CDMA Conference Paper Series with number 0404.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:san:cdmacp:0404
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