NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Optimal Monetary Stabilization Policy

Michael Woodford

NBER Working Paper No. 16095
Issued in June 2010
NBER Program(s):   EFG   ME

This paper reviews the theory of optimal monetary stabilization policy, with an emphasis on developments since the publication of Woodford (2003). The structure of optimal policy commitments is considered, both when the objective of stabilization policy is defined by an arbitrarily specified quadratic loss function, and when the objective of policy is taken to be the maximization of expected utility. Issues treated include the time inconsistency of optimal policies and the need for commitment; the relation of optimal policy from a "timeless perspective" to the Ramsey conception of optimal policy; and the advantages of forecast targeting procedures as an approach to the implementation of optimal stabilization policy. The usefulness of characterizing optimal policy in terms of a target criterion is illustrated in a range of examples. These include models with a variety of assumptions about the nature of price and wage adjustment; models that allow for sectoral heterogeneity; cases in which policy must be conducted on the basis of imperfect information; and cases in which the zero lower bound on the policy rate constrains the conduct of policy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16095

Published: “Optimal Monetary Stabilization Policy,” in B.M. Friedman and M. Woodford, eds., Handbook of Monetary Economics, vol. 3B, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2011.

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