A Reassessment of the Problems with Interest Targeting: What Have We Learned from Japanese Monetary Policy?
Interest rate targeting is widely used by central banks to pursue price stability; however, the variation in inflation policy outcomes between central banks such as the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan despite a common policy instrument framework suggests interest- targeting has limitations. Despite the variation in policy outcomes, the role of targeting was enhanced with the advent of Taylor rules in the 1990s and interest rate targeting dominates central bank attitudes to the exclusion of any other policy instrument framework. The recent Japanese experience confronts us with the need to reassess the relative merits of interest targeting. This paper frames the discussion of the various problems of the interest-targeting framework within a model that encompasses a number of important previous results and stresses that interest rate targeting may leave the price level indeterminate in various plausible circumstances. In a low, or even zero interest rate environment, such as the one that characterized Japan, Taylor-type rules may offer no solution to the indeterminacy problem. The paper then discusses various aspects of the BoJ’s decision to adhere to interest rate targeting despite its limitations.
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