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Using Taylor Rules to Assess the Relative Activism of the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Board

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  • David Cobham

Abstract

This paper attempts to assess the relative activism of these three central banks, with reference to the debate on interest rate smoothing. It investigates smoothing in terms of the pattern of interest rate changes, and estimates a series of Taylor-type policy rules for each bank, using quarterly and monthly data, with ‘backward’ and ‘forward’-looking arguments, and with and without lagged dependent variables. It also examines the effect of introducing an auto-correlated error term. There is some (non-robust) evidence that the FRB is more activist, but it also seems to be more smooth; the ECB seems to adjust faster but less strongly in the long run; and the BoE’s behaviour is more difficult to identify. However, these standard policy rules are out of kilter with central banks’ own descriptions of what they do, while the long lags involved raise questions about the relevance of the Taylor principle as conventionally applied. It is therefore suggested that researchers should pay more attention to the institutional context of central banks’ behaviour, in order to produce better estimates of their policy rules which would in turn shed more light on the issues of activism and smoothing.

Suggested Citation

  • David Cobham, 2006. " Using Taylor Rules to Assess the Relative Activism of the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve Board," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0602, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:san:cdmacp:0602
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    File URL: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/CDMA/papers/cp0602.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1991. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 7-30, January.
    2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    3. Ben Martin & Chris Salmon, 1999. "Should uncertain monetary policy-makers do less?," Bank of England working papers 99, Bank of England.
    4. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
    5. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, 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. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1986. "The Changing Behavior of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 211-228.
    8. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
    9. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2006. "Monetary Policy Inertia: Fact or Fiction?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(4), December.
    10. Gerlach, Stefan, 2004. "Interest Rate Setting by the ECB: Words and Deeds," CEPR Discussion Papers 4775, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni, 2013. "What are we learning from the life satisfaction literature?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 113-155, June.
    2. Rosaria Rita Canale & Pasquale Foresti & Ugo Marani & Oreste Napolitano, 2008. "On keynesian effects of (apparent) non-keynesian fiscal policies," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 5-46.
    3. Becchetti, Leonardo & Castriota, Stefano & Giuntella, Giovanni Osea, 2010. "The effects of age and job protection on the welfare costs of inflation and unemployment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 137-146, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary policy; activism; interest rate smoothing; central banks.;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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