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Why Were Changes in the Federal Funds Rate Smaller in the 1990s?

Listed author(s):
  • Arabinda Basistha

    (University of Washington)

  • Richard Startz

    (University of Washington)

In this paper, we identify two major changes in the dynamics of the federal funds rate in the 1990s. We model the desired rate in a two-regime setting, one when the Fed makes no change and the other when the Fed is moving the desired rate to a new level. We find that the 1990s saw longer duration in the no-change regime as well as smaller changes in the other regime. We show the smaller changes were neither due to a less aggressive Fed nor due to lower volatility of the fundamentals. In fact, the Fed responded more aggressively to changes in fundamentals in the 1990s. The results also suggest that the Fed became more forward-looking in the last decade.

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File URL: http://www.econ.washington.edu/user/startz/Working_Papers/FederalFunds.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Washington, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number UWEC-2002-02.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
Publication status: Forthcoming in Journal of Applied Econometrics
Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2002-02
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  1. 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.
  2. Dean Croushore, 1998. "Evaluating inflation forecasts," Working Papers 98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-576, June.
  4. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. James D. Hamilton & Oscar Jorda, 2002. "A Model of the Federal Funds Rate Target," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1135-1167, October.
  6. 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.
  7. Yash P. Mehra, 1998. "The bond rate and actual future inflation," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 27-47.
  8. Kim, Chang-Jin & Nelson, Charles R & Piger, Jeremy, 2004. "The Less-Volatile U.S. Economy: A Bayesian Investigation of Timing, Breadth, and Potential Explanations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22(1), pages 80-93, January.
  9. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1990. "What does the term structure tell us about future inflation?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 77-95, January.
  10. Sack, Brian & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Interest-rate smoothing and optimal monetary policy: a review of recent empirical evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 205-228.
  11. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
  12. 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.
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