NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Nominal Income Targeting

Robert E. Hall, N. Gregory Mankiw

NBER Working Paper No. 4439 (Also Reprint No. r1916)
Issued in August 1993
NBER Program(s):Monetary Economics, Economic Fluctuations and Growth

This paper discusses nominal income targeting as a possible rule for the conduct of monetary policy. We begin by discussing why a rule for monetary policy may be desirable and the characteristics that a good rule should have. We emphasize, in particular, three types of nominal income targets, which differ in how they respond to past shocks, to prices, and real economic activity. A key question is how any of these rules might be implemented in practice. We suggest that the consensus forecast of future nominal income could playa role in ensuring that the central bank does not deviate from its announced target. To show how economic performance might have differed historically if the Fed had been committed to some type of nominal income target, we offer simulations of a simple model of the economy. According to the simulations, the primary benefit of nominal income targeting would have been reduced volatility in the price level and the inflation rate. Whether real economic activity would have been less volatile is unclear.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4439

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