September 1997

Expectations, Learning and the Costs of Disinflation: Experiments using the FRB/US Model

Antulio Bomfim, Robert Tetlow, Peter von zur Muehlen, and John C. Williams


The macroeconomic costs of disinflation are considered for the United States in a rational expectations macroeconometric model with sticky prices and imperfect information regarding monetary policy objectives. The analysis centers on simulation experiments using the Board’s new quarterly macroeconometric model, FRB/US, within which are nested both expectations formation that is 'rational' (i.e., model consistent) and 'restricted-information rational' (i.e., where the information set is restricted to that captured by a small-scale VAR model). We characterize monetary policy as being governed by rules. Disinflations are represented by changes in the target inflation rate of a interest-rate reaction function. Two kinds of rules are considered: a version of the Taylor rule and the other being a more aggressive and richer specification estimated using data for the last 15 years. We assume agents are not fully cognizant of changes in the Fed’s inflation target and must instead adjust their perceptions of the target according to a linear updating rule. Simulation results for sacrifice ratios are compared with results from other models and with econometric results and calculations reported in the literature.

Full paper (322 KB Postscript)

Keywords: Monetary policy, disinflation, expectations, learning, macroeconomic modeling

PDF: Full Paper

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