NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Present and Future of Monetary Policy Rules

Bennett T. McCallum

NBER Working Paper No. 7916
Issued in September 2000
NBER Program(s):   EFG   ME

To consider the prospects, looking 20-30 years into the future, for monetary policymaking in accordance with policy rules, one must evaluate their present importance. That requires some definition of what constitutes rule-based monetary policy in practice, since no actual central bank will ever be literally bound by any simple formula (or any strict optimal control scheme). Consideration of the rules-versus-discretion literature, plus more recent analysis by Woodford (1999), indicates that rule-based policy is conducted to satisfy relationships specified from a timeless perspective.' Given this conception, it seems reasonably clear that today's prominent regimes (e.g., inflation targeting) do largely represent rule-based policymaking. Whether these will prevail into the future will depend in part on political trends, but their fundamental soundness gives room for hope. Regarding the effects of a gradually diminishing role of money, it would appear that the feasibility and attractiveness of rule-based policymaking will not be seriously impaired so long as a tangible medium of exchange has some importance, even if small. In the complete absence of monetary transactions, there would be no monetary policy of any type, rule-based or discretionary. But it seems highly unlikely that money will disappear in the foreseeable future.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7916

Published: McCallum, Bennett T, 2000. "The Present and Future of Monetary Policy Rules," International Finance, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 273-86, July.

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