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Athanasios Orphanides

1 October 1999
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 8
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Abstract
We study optimal monetary policy design in a simple model that deviates from the linear-quadratic paradigm and provides a rationale for the practice of inflation zone targeting. We show that the presence of either zone-quadratic preferences or a zone-linear relationship between inflation and economic activity provides strong incentives to deviate from conventional linear policies. We calibrate the model based on parameters for the U.S. and the euro area and employ a numerical dynamic programming algorithm to derive the optimal policies. With this algorithm, we examine the role of uncertainty, model structure and relative preference towards economic stability in determining the width of the implied targeted inflation zone.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
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
E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination
1 March 2000
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 15
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Abstract
In recent years, activist monetary policy rules responding to inflation and the level of economic activity have been advanced as a means of achieving effective output stabilization without inflation. Advocates of such policies suggest that their flexibility may yield substantial stabilization benefits while avoiding the excesses of overzealous discretionary fine-tuning such as is thought to characterize the experience of the 1960s and 1970s. In this paper, I demonstrate that these conclusions are misguided. To illustrate this fact, I construct a database with data available to policy-makers in real time from 1965 to 1993 and, using an estimated model, I perform counter-factual simulations under alternative informational assumptions regarding the knowledge policy-makers can reasonably have had about the state of the economy when policy decisions were made. Using realistic informational assumptions overturns findings favouring activist policies in favour of prudent policies that ignore short-run stabilization concerns altogether. The evidence points to misperceptions of the economy's productive capacity as the primary underlying cause of the 1970s inflation and suggests that apparent differences in the framework governing monetary policy decisions during the 1970s compared to the more recent past have been greatly exaggerated.
JEL Code
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
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
1 January 2002
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 115
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Abstract
I estimate a forward-looking monetary policy reaction function for the Federal Reserve for the periods before and after Paul Volcker's appointment as Chairman in 1979, using information that was available to the FOMC in real time from 1966 to 1995. The results suggest broad similarities in policy and point to a forward looking approach to policy consistent with a strong reaction to inflation forecasts during both periods. This contradicts the hypothesis, based on analysis with ex post constructed data, that the instability of the Great Inflation was the result of weak FOMC policy responses to expected inflation. A difference is that prior to Volcker's appointment, policy was too activist in reacting to perceived output gaps that retrospectively proved overambitious. Drawing on contemporaneous accounts of FOMC policy, I discuss the implications of the findings for alternative explanations of the Great Inflation and the improvement in macroeconomic stability since then
JEL Code
E3 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
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
1 May 2003
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 231
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Abstract
This paper employs stochastic simulations of a small structural rational expectations model to investigate the consequences of the zero bound on nominal interest rates. We find that if the economy is subject to stochastic shocks similar in magnitude to those experienced in the U.S. over the 1980s and 1990s, the consequences of the zero bound are negligible for target inflation rates as low as 2 percent. However, the effects of the constraint are non-linear with respect to the inflation target and produce a quantitatively significant deterioration of the performance of the economy with targets between 0 and 1 percent. The variability of output increases significantly and that of inflation also rises somewhat. Also, we show that the asymmetry of the policy ineffectiveness induced by the zero bound generates a non-vertical long-run Phillips curve. Output falls increasingly short of potential with lower inflation targets.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
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
E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination
27 April 2004
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 337
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Abstract
We develop an estimated model of the U.S. economy in which agents form expectations by continually updating their beliefs regarding the behavior of the economy and monetary policy. We explore the effects of policymakers' misperceptions of the natural rate of unemployment during the late 1960s and 1970s on the formation of expectations and macroeconomic outcomes. We find that the combination of monetary policy directed at tight stabilization of unemployment near its perceived natural rate and large real-time errors in estimates of the natural rate uprooted heretofore quiescent inflation expectations and destabilized the economy. Had monetary policy reacted less aggressively to perceived unemployment gaps, inflation expectations would have remained anchored and the stagflation of the 1970s would have been avoided. Indeed, we find that less activist policies would have been more effective at stabilizing both inflation and unemployment. We argue that policymakers, learning from the experience of the 1970s, eschewed activist policies in favor of policies that concentrated on the achievement of price stability, contributing to the subsequent improvements in macroeconomic performance of the U.S. economy.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
Network
International research forum on monetary policy
13 June 2007
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 764
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Abstract
We examine the performance and robustness properties of monetary policy rules in an estimated macroeconomic model in which the economy undergoes structural change and where private agents and the central bank possess imperfect knowledge about the true structure of the economy. Policymakers follow an interest rate rule aiming to maintain price stability and to minimize fluctuations of unemployment around its natural rate but are uncertain about the economy's natural rates of interest and unemployment and how private agents form expectations. In particular, we consider two models of expectations formation: rational expectations and learning. We show that in this environment the ability to stabilize the real side of the economy is significantly reduced relative to an economy under rational expectations with perfect knowledge. Furthermore, policies that would be optimal under perfect knowledge can perform very poorly if knowledge is imperfect. Efficient policies that take account of private learning and misperceptions of natural rates call for greater policy inertia, a more aggressive response to inflation, and a smaller response to the perceived unemployment gap than would be optimal if everyone had perfect knowledge of the economy. We show that such policies are quite robust to potential misspecification of private sector learning and the magnitude of variation in natural rates.
JEL Code
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
Network
ECB conference on monetary policy and imperfect knowledge