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Measuring the Time-Inconsistency of US Monetary Policy

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  • Paolo Surico

    (Bocconi University)

Abstract

This paper offers an alternative explanation for the behavior of postwar US inflation by measuring a novel source of monetary policy time- inconsistency due to Cukierman (2002). In the presence of asymmetric preferences, the monetary authorities end up generating a systematic inflation bias through the private sector expectations of a larger policy response in recessions than in booms. Reduced-form estimates of US monetary policy rules indicate that while the inflation target declines from the pre- to the post-Volcker regime, the average inflation bias, which is about one percent before 1979, tends to disappear over the last two decades. This result can be rationalized in terms of the preference on output stabilization, which is found to be large and asymmetric in the former but not in the latter period.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Surico, 2004. "Measuring the Time-Inconsistency of US Monetary Policy," Macroeconomics 0401006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0401006
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 22
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alex Cukierman, 2002. "Are contemporary central banks transparent about economic models and objectives and what difference does it make?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 15-36.
    2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    3. Hamilton, James D., 1996. "This is what happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 215-220, October.
    4. Peter N. Ireland, 2007. "Changes in the Federal Reserve's Inflation Target: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(8), pages 1851-1882, December.
    5. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    6. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902.
    7. McCallum, Bennett T., 1997. "Crucial issues concerning central bank independence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 99-112, June.
    8. Ruge-Murcia, Francisco J., 2003. "Does the Barro-Gordon model explain the behavior of US inflation? A reexamination of the empirical evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1375-1390, September.
    9. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
    10. 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.
    11. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    12. Geraats, Petra M., 1999. "Inflation and Its Variation: An Alternative Explanation," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt56b2g3vn, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    13. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "What happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-213, October.
    14. Paolo Surico, 2008. "Measuring the Time Inconsistency of US Monetary Policy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 22-38, February.
    15. Alex Cukierman & Stefan Gerlach, 2003. "The inflation bias revisited: theory and some international evidence," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 541-565, September.
    16. Paolo Surico, 2002. "Inflation Targeting and Nonlinear Policy Rules: the Case of Asymmetric Preferences," Macroeconomics 0210002, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Feb 2004.
    17. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 1998. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," FMG Discussion Papers dp306, Financial Markets Group.
    18. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    19. Paolo Surico, 2002. "Uncovering Policy Makers' Loss Function," Macroeconomics 0210003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 2003. "Optimal Discretionary Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 657-665, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric preferences; time-inconsistency; average inflation bias; US inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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