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Simple Monetary Policy Rules


Simple monetary policy rules typically provide a relationship between the central bank’s policy rate—which, for the United States, has been the federal funds rate target—and a relatively small number of indicators on real economic activity and inflation. Monetary policymakers often compare and contrast the federal funds rates implied by different simple monetary policy rules, use simple rules as an input in the decision-making process, and use simple rules to help communicate decisions to the public. (For one example, see here.)

Examining a variety of rules is helpful because there is no agreement in the research literature on a single “best” rule, and different rules can sometimes generate very different values for the federal funds rate, both for the present and for the future. Looking across multiple economic forecasts helps to capture some of the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook and, by extension, monetary policy prospects.

We look at the federal funds rates coming from 7 simple rules.

  • Taylor (1993) rule
  • Core inflation in Taylor (1999) rule
  • Inertial rule
  • Alternative r* rule
  • Forward-looking rule
  • First-difference rule
  • Low weight on output gap rule

Forecasts for economic activity come from 3 sources.

  • Survey of Professional Forecasters
  • Congressional Budget Office
  • Cleveland Fed BVAR model

Related Research

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Additional Resources

  • Quarterly Report. This quarterly report presents all the numbers, formulae, and charts of the federal funds rates coming from the policy rules.
  • Quarterly Report Archive. Past quarterly reports are available here.