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The asymmetry of U.S. monetary policy: Evidence from a threshold Taylor rule with time-varying threshold values

Yanli Zhu and Haiqiang Chen

Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 2017, vol. 473, issue C, 522-535

Abstract: In this paper, we revisit the issue whether U.S. monetary policy is asymmetric by estimating a forward-looking threshold Taylor rule with quarterly data from 1955 to 2015. In order to capture the potential heterogeneity for regime shift mechanism under different economic conditions, we modify the threshold model by assuming the threshold value as a latent variable following an autoregressive (AR) dynamic process. We use the unemployment rate as the threshold variable and separate the sample into two periods: expansion periods and recession periods. Our findings support that the U.S. monetary policy operations are asymmetric in these two regimes. More precisely, the monetary authority tends to implement an active Taylor rule with a weaker response to the inflation gap (the deviation of inflation from its target) and a stronger response to the output gap (the deviation of output from its potential level) in recession periods. The threshold value, interpreted as the targeted unemployment rate of monetary authorities, exhibits significant time-varying properties, confirming the conjecture that policy makers may adjust their reference point for the unemployment rate accordingly to reflect their attitude on the health of general economy.

Keywords: Threshold Taylor rule; Time-varying threshold values; Bayesian approaches (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E43 E52 E58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications is currently edited by K. A. Dawson, J. O. Indekeu, H.E. Stanley and C. Tsallis

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