Working Papers

2001-08 | July 2004


The Policy Preferences of the U.S. Federal Reserve


This paper uses a small data-consistent model of the United States to identify and estimate the Federal Reserve's policy preferences. We find critical differences between the policy regimes in operation during the Burns-Miller and Volcker-Greenspan periods. Over the Volcker-Greenspan period we estimate the inflation target to be 2.0% and find that policymakers were willing to allow the real interest rate to change in order to keep overall changes in the nominal interest rate relatively small. In contrast, for the Burns-Miller period the inflation target is estimated to be 5.9%, and we find that policy makers were much more prepared to tolerate changes in the nominal interest rate than they were changes in the real interest rate. Consequently, over this period policymakers tended to accommodate movements in inflation. We find statistical evidence that a policy regime shift occurred with Volcker's appointment to Federal Reserve chairman.

Download PDF (pdf, 433.96 kb)