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The Making of Optimal and Consistent Policy: An Implementation Theory Framework for Monetary Policy

  • Huiping Yuan

    (Xiamen University)

  • Stephen M. Miller

    (University of Connecticut and University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

This paper shows that optimal policy and consistent policy outcomes require the use of control-theory and game-theory solution techniques. While optimal policy and consistent policy often produce different outcomes even in a one-period model, we analyze consistent policy and its outcome in a simple model, finding that the cause of the inconsistency with optimal policy traces to inconsistent targets in the social loss function. As a result, the social loss function cannot serve as a direct loss function for the central bank. Accordingly, we employ implementation theory to design a central bank loss function (mechanism design) with consistent targets, while the social loss function serves as a social welfare criterion. That is, with the correct mechanism design for the central bank loss function, optimal policy and consistent policy become identical. In other words, optimal policy proves implementable (consistent).

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2006-06.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision: Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2006-06
Note: We presented an earlier version at Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
  2. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  3. D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998. "Inflation and Reputation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625, David K. Levine.
  4. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Inflation Targeting as a Monetary Policy Rule," NBER Working Papers 6790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Kydland, Finn, 1977. "Equilibrium solutions in dynamic dominant-player models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 307-324, August.
  9. Matthew O. Jackson, 2001. "A crash course in implementation theory," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 655-708.
  10. Leininger, Wolfgang, 1985. "Rawls' Maximin Criterion and Time-Consistency: Further Results," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 505-13, July.
  11. Svensson, Lars E O, 1997. "Optimal Inflation Targets, "Conservative" Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 98-114, March.
  12. V.V. Chari, 1988. "Time consistency and optimal policy design," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 17-31.
  13. Huiping Yuan & Stephen M. Miller & Langnan Chen, 2011. "The Optimality And Controllability Of Monetary Policy Through Delegation With Consistent Targets," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(1), pages 82-106, February.
  14. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "Some Notes on Time Inconsistency and Rawls' Maximin Criterion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 97-102, February.
  15. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  16. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-86, March.
  17. V. V. Chari & Patrick J Kehoe, 1998. "Sustainable Plans," Levine's Working Paper Archive 600, David K. Levine.
  18. Georgios E. Chortareas & Stephen M. Miller, 2000. "Monetary Policy Delegation, Contract Costs, and Contract Targets," Working papers 2000-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  19. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
  20. Pollak, Robert A, 1979. "Bergson-Samuelson Social Welfare Functions and the Theory of Social Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 73-90, February.
  21. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  22. Rodriguez, Alvaro, 1981. "Rawls' Maximin Criterion and Time Consistency: A Generalization," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 599-605, October.
  23. Dasgupta, Partha, 1974. "On some alternative criteria for justice between generations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 405-423, November.
  24. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  25. Mccallum, Bennet T., 1988. "Robustness properties of a rule for monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 173-203, January.
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