Research Discussion Paper – RDP 8605 On Some Recent Developments in Monetary Economics


This survey is motivated by the major changes that have been occurring both within the financial sector and in the relationships between financial and other markets. These changes have complicated both monetary analysis and the practice of monetary policy.

Monetary models based on simple aggregative relationships are not well equipped to analyse issues of structural change.

Monetary policy has been forced to rely more on “judgement” and less on the application of these models and their suggested policy rules. One obvious example of this is the demise, or at least downgrading, of monetary targets in major western economies.

This survey examines some of the main strands in the development of monetary economics in the past two decades. It argues that much of the policy prescription of monetary economics – especially reliance on monetary targeting – depends on simple “stylised facts” about the behaviour of regulated economies. These prescriptions cannot therefore be applied directly to economies where the regulatory structure is changing. Policy approaches such as Australia's current use of a “check list” of indicators are discretionary to the extent that they involve judgements about the relative importance of different indicators. But it is argued that this discretionary approach develops, rather than overthrows, the previous approach.

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