Tag Archives: John B. Taylor

Taylor legislation? Rules versus discretion misunderstood

John B. Taylor is one of the profession’s most recognized macroeconomists, and for good reason. He has made numerous contributions to theories on wage and price formation and monetary policy. Many concepts are so central that they carry his name. “Taylor contracts” (staggered nominal wage or price contracts that are a central ingredient in many macroeconomics models), “Taylor curves” (curves that simply illustrate the feasible monetary policy trade offs), and, of course, the “Taylor Rule”, which is a specification of a nominal interest rate rule for a central bank. Originally mentioned in a 1993 paper, Taylor showed that the simple rule—that recommends that the nominal interest rate adjust to inflation … Continue reading

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White Paper, Great Economists and (really) Bad Science

In Denmark, where I come from, academic economists are often used in the media. Whenever there is a political debate on an economic issue or policy proposal, TV and newspapers call out for economists to get their views and analyses. The norm is that journalists try to cover most views on a given issue, and that the economists in question try to be as balanced as possible. Ideally, the economists act as a sort of independent “expert witnesses”. Of course, personal opinions will to some extent color what a given economist will focus on, but one line is never crossed: An academic economist never endorses a given politician or party … Continue reading

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One more time for the world: There is no simple relationship (if any) between Taylor-rule coefficients and policy preferences

The lack of a relationship between the size of the coefficients in a Taylor rule for monetary policy conduct and the underlying preferences for stabilization of macroeconomic goals is well known. I often have it as a check subject in my exams in monetary economics. When I present the result to students first time—it is fleshed out in Lars Svensson’s “Inflation Forecast Targeting: Implementing and Monitoring Inflation Targets” (European Economic Review 41, 1997, 1111-1141) for a simple backward-looking IS/AS model—I often state that many tend to overlook this, and that it is a common misconception that, e.g., a relatively high coefficient on the output gap in the rule indicates a … Continue reading

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New-Keynesian explosions: The Cochrane interpretation and explosive solution

John Cochrane has some interesting comments on New Keynesian economics in his latest blog post on “New Keynesian Stimulus“. The interesting is not the part of the blog-literature to which it also contributes; the part about mudslinging in fiscal stimulus discussions, about which prominent economist got basic theory wrong, about who is acting most disrespectful and whatnot. I.e., the extremely counterproductive style of “debate” that was basically initiated by he-who-shall-go-unmentioned for once. I normally find that Cochrane behaves quite academic and adhere to scientific arguments (which is not entirely unfair given that he is a professor of economics), but even he has to defend himself every once in a while, … Continue reading

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The Taylor Plot: A European View

January this year, John Taylor posted a scatterplot on his blog. He plotted quarterly US unemployment against fixed investment as a fraction of GDP for 1990q1-2010q3, and found a very strong negative correlation (jpg ). In contrast, the relationship between government spending and unemployment tended to be positive, albeit not so strong. On the latter finding he notes that “the correlation is not due to any reverse causation from high unemployment to more government purchases”. Overall, he therefore concludes that “Encouraging the creation and expansion of businesses should be the focus on government efforts to reduce unemployment” and further: “The recent compromise agreement to prevent the increase in tax rates … Continue reading

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Taylor Rules on the Taylor Rule

The rule for nominal interest rate setting that John Taylor proposed in his 1993 paper “Discretion versus Policy Rules in Practice“, Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 39, 195-214, has had an enormous influence in the macroeconomics profession.  It is safe to say that numerous economists, practitioners and academics alike, since that paper have evaluated monetary policymaking using the Taylor rule as some kind of reference point. Empirically, a plethora of papers have estimated coefficients of Taylor-type rules for different countries during different periods. Theoretically, paper after paper on monetary policymaking adopt some form of the Taylor rule as a default specification of monetary policymaking (even undergraduate text books routinely … Continue reading

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A Credible Anti-Inflationary Central Bank Ignores Inflation

Today, the European Central Bank decided to keep its policy rate unchanged. I am not particularly surprised. In recent empirical work, Morten Aastrup and I estimate what determines the ECB’s interest-rate changes. It turns out that inflation or expectations thereof play no role. Instead, changes in economic activity as measured by Euro-area unemployment is an important determinant. Americans who cling to the idea that good monetary policymaking is characterized by an adherence to a variant of John B. Taylor’s rule that carries his name, may find this surprising. However, consistent with modern New-Keynesian theory (cf. Michael Woodford’s Interest and Prices, Princeton University Press, 2003), a credible anti-inflationary central bank can … Continue reading

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