Martin Bodenstein and Junzhu Zhao | We study optimal monetary policy when the empirical evidence leaves the policymaker uncertain whether the true data-generating process is given by a model with sticky wages or a model with search and matching frictions in the labor market. Unless the policymaker is almost certain about the search and matching model being the correct data-generating process, the policymaker chooses to stabilize wage inflation at the expense of price inflation, a policy resembling the policy that is optimal in the sticky wage model, regardless of the true model. This finding reflects the greater sensitivity of welfare losses to deviations from the model-specific optimal policy in the sticky wage model. Thus, uncertainty about important aspects of the structure of the economy does not necessarily translate into uncertainty about the features of good monetary policy.

FRB: Finance and Economics Discussion Series Working Papers

Read the full FEDS working paper at: https://www.federalreserve.gov/feeds/feeds.htm

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