Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 21 No. 4 (Fall 2007)
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The Case for Forecast Targeting as a Monetary Policy Strategy
Woodford, Michael. 2007. "The Case for Forecast Targeting as a Monetary Policy Strategy." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(4): 3-24.
At central banks around the world, including the Bank of England, Sweden's Riksbank, Norway's Norges Bank, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, policy is conducted on the basis of "inflation-forecast targeting": the central bank constructs quantitative projections of the economy's expected future evolution based on the way in which it intends to control short-term interest rates, and public discussion of those projections plays a critical role in justifying the banks' conduct of monetary policy to the public. What accounts for the appeal of this approach? Should it be adopted more widely or more explicitly? I review the long-running debate between proponents of monetary rules and proponents of discretionary monetary policy and argue that inflation-forecast targeting represents a powerful synthesis of the two approaches. I explore some common questions that arise about inflation-forecast targeting and consider how the U.S. Federal Reserve might move toward an explicit policy of inflation-forecast targeting.
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