DP2178 | Modelling and Identifying Central Banks' Preferences

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We propose an approach to identify independently the parameters describing the structure of the economy from those describing central bank preferences. We first estimate a parsimonious structural model for US inflation, US output-gap and the world commodity price index. We then proceed to the identification of central bank preferences by estimating by GMM the Euler equations for the solution of the intertemporal optimization problem relevant to the central bank. The empirical analysis of the structural model shows that the persistency of real interest rates effects on aggregate demand is sufficient to generate an autoregressive structure in any interest rate rule. From estimation of the Euler equations, we infer that strict inflation targeting together with real interest rate smoothing delivers an optimal policy rule capable of replicating the observed path of real interest rates over the sample 1983:1 - 1998:3. Our empirical findings imply that the output gap enters into the optimal interest rate rule only as a leading indicator of future inflation, and we reject the hypothesis that output stabilization is an independent argument in the loss of function of the Fed.