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John B. Taylor

17 September 2009
Renewed interest in fiscal policy has increased the use of quantitative models to evaluate policy. Because of modelling uncertainty, it is essential that policy evaluations be robust to alternative assumptions. We find that models currently being used in practice to evaluate fiscal policy stimulus proposals are not robust. Government spending multipliers in an alternative empirically-estimated and widely-cited new Keynesian model are much smaller than in these old Keynesian models; the estimated stimulus is extremely small with GDP and employment effects only one-sixth as large.
JEL Code
C52 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy
2 November 2010
In this paper we investigate the comparative properties of empirically-estimated monetary models of the U.S. economy. We make use of a new database of models designed for such investigations. We focus on three representative models: the Christiano, Eichenbaum, Evans (2005) model, the Smets and Wouters (2007) model, and the Taylor (1993a) model. Although the three models differ in terms of structure, estimation method, sample period, and data vintage, we find surprisingly similar economic impacts of unanticipated changes in the federal funds rate. However, the optimal monetary policy rules are different in the different models. Simple model-specific policy rules that include the lagged interest rate, inflation and current and lagged output gaps are not robust. Some degree of robustness can be recovered by using rules without interest-rate smoothing or with GDP growth deviations from trend in place of the output gap. However, improvement vis-à-vis other models, comes at the cost of significant performance deterioration in the original model. Model averaging offers a much more effective strategy for improving the robustness of policy rules.
JEL Code
E12 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→General Aggregative Models→Keynes, Keynesian, Post-Keynesian
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy
E61 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Policy Objectives, Policy Designs and Consistency, Policy Coordination