[position in research by date] [position in research by subject]

"The Sensitivity of Fiscal-Policy Effects to Assumptions About the Behavior of the Federal Reserve," Econometrica, 1978.

Paper: pdf file

The purpose of this paper is to examine within the context of a particular U.S. econometric model the sensitivity of fiscal policy effects to alternative assumptions about the behavior of the Federal Reserve. Five cases are considered, four in which Fed behavior is exogenous and one in which Fed behavior is endogenous. In each of the four exogenous cases the Fed is assumed to control a particular variables, which is then taken to be exogenous for purposes of the fiscal-policy experiments. For the endogenous case an estimated equation explaining Fed behavior is added to the model, and the expanded model is used to perform the experiments. The results of some optimal control experiments are also reported in this paper. These latter experiments are designed to examine the sensitivity of optimal fiscal policies to alternative assumptions about Fed behavior. The main conclusion of this paper is that fiscal policy effects and optimal fiscal policies are quite sensitive to assumptions about the behavior of the Fed.


This paper resulted in an important addition to the US model as specified in 1976#1, namely an estimated interest rate reaction function of the Federal Reserve. This function is equation 30 in the The US Model. The reaction function in this paper was one of the first monetary policy rules to be specified with the interest rate as the target variable. This paper shows that fiscal policy effects in the US model are sensitive to what is assumed about Fed behavior. Similarly, optimal control results are sensitive to Fed behavioral assumptions.