Recent Developments in Monetary Macroeconomics

By Altig, David | Journal of Money, Credit & Banking, December 2003 | Go to article overview

Recent Developments in Monetary Macroeconomics


Altig, David, Journal of Money, Credit & Banking


Introduction

THE CONTENTS OF THIS VOLUME hardly require explanation beyond its title: "Recent Developments in Monetary Macroeconomics." Our intent for the conference was to collect a set of papers reflecting the cutting edge of applied monetary macroeconomics. As befitting such an ambitious-sounding goal, the contributions are wide ranging. For purposes of this brief introduction, however, we might organize the papers as answers to three questions. (1) What is the "optimal" Taylor rule? (2) Are "New Keynesian" or "New Neoclassical Synthesis" models the final word on the monetary transmission mechanism? (3) Is there a role for money in the conduct of monetary policy?

WHAT IS THE "OPTIMAL" TAYLOR RULE

The inclusion of the Taylor rule issue is almost a prerequisite for any collection of papers purporting to survey recent developments in monetary macroeconomics. In policy discussions, the Taylor rule is ubiquitous, and it is currently the choice among alternative specifications of central bank behavior. More precisely, perhaps, the general form of the Taylor rule is the choice, as it has come to represent the general class of equations that relate the federal funds rate to some measure of an output gap and inflation rate. There is substantially less unanimity about whether output gaps and inflation rates should be past, present, or (expected) future values, whether past values of the funds rate need to be included, and what are the appropriate magnitudes of the responses to each of these measures.

Marc Giannoni and Michael Woodford offer the natural approach to addressing the dispute: find the representation that is optimal within the framework being employed for policy analysis. The model in question here is essentially a derivative of the "New Neoclassical Synthesis" class of models that are currently the workhorses of most monetary policy analyses among academic and central bank staffs alike. Their approach to discovering the optimal policy within this structure has the flavor of the "Ramsey problem" familiar from optimal tax policy, although with the strong requirement that the derived policy rule be "robustly optimal": it must support the optimal equilibrium no matter what the distribution of disturbances the model policymakers face.

Giannoni and Woodford offer two essential lessons. First, whether optimal policy incorporates forecasts of future price-level growth or output gaps depend critically on the dynamics of the inflation rate. If the adjustment of the price-level to shocks is inertial, then optimal policy necessarily depends on forecasts of future inflation. Second, the response of the funds rate to its own past is inertial. In fact, it is super-inertial, meaning that (all else equal), the contemporaneous funds rate responds more than one-for-one with the lagged value of the funds rate (and lagged changes in the rate).

The proposition that monetary authorities ought to aggressively respond to lagged values of the funds rate also arises in the papers by Jess Benhabib, Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, and Martin Uribe, and George Evans and Seppo Honkapohja. In the latter case, the authors consolidate and expand on their well-known work on learning dynamics. A central contribution of the work presented in this article is the notion that convergence to a unique rational expectations equilibrium under learning, as well as the stability of that equilibrium, serves as basis for the choice (or rejection) of an optimal policy formulation.

An apparent lesson from Evans and Honkapohja's analysis is that the learnability criterion prescribes a policy rule that differs in some important ways from the conventional wisdom coming from analyses that invoke the Taylor rule in a pure rational expectations environment. In particular, they conclude that the optimal policy rule in the environment they consider requires the monetary authority to respond directly to private-sector expectations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Recent Developments in Monetary Macroeconomics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.