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Economic Review

Sep/Oct, 1987

The Case for Rules in the Conduct of Monetary Policy: A Concrete Example

Bennett T. McCallum

A policy rule can be activist; the distinction between rules and discretion depends on the stage at which optimization calculations enter the policy process. Here a specific monetary rule is proposed, one that sets the monetary base each quarter in a manner designed to keep nominal aggregate demand growing smoothly at a noninflationary rate. Simulations with a simple estimated model suggest that the proposed rule would have performed well over the period 1954-85, despite financial innovations and regulatory change.

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