NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

On the Need for a New Approach to Analyzing Monetary Policy

Andrew Atkeson, Patrick J. Kehoe

NBER Working Paper No. 14260
Issued in August 2008
NBER Program(s):   EFG

We present a pricing kernel that summarizes well the main features of the dynamics of interest rates and risk in postwar U.S. data and use it to uncover how the pricing kernel has moved with the short rate in this data. Our findings imply that standard monetary models miss an essential link between the central bank instrument and the economic activity that monetary policy is intended to affect and thus we call for a new approach to monetary policy analysis. We sketch a new approach using an economic model based on our pricing kernel. The model incorporates the key relationships between policy and risk movements in an unconventional way: the central bank's policy changes are viewed as primarily intended to compensate for exogenous business cycle fluctuations in risk which threaten to push inflation off target. This model, while an improvement on standard models, is considered just a starting point for their revision. It leads to critical questions that researchers need to answer as they continue to revise their approach to monetary policy analysis.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14260

Published: On the Need for a New Approach to Analyzing Monetary Policy, Andrew Atkeson, Patrick J. Kehoe. in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, Acemoglu, Rogoff, and Woodford. 2009

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