Money, policy regimes and economic fluctuations
Part I deals with the estimation of money demand functions. Several non-structural interpretations of the conventionally estimated functions are surveyed and discussed (Chapter 1). An application to Italian data is then presented, focusing on two such interpretations. First (Chapter 2), the role of expectations in determining money demand behaviour is assessed. Since monetary policy regimes have a direct effect on the time-series properties of interest rates, the identification of clear regime changes may provide a powerful test of forward-looking models of money demand. An expectations model is constructed, which is stable in the face of the Italian monetary policy regime change in 1970, when traditional backward-looking money demand functions show remarkable instability. Second (Chapter 3), the existence of multiple long-run relations among the variables relevant to money demand is shown to create problems for the interpretation of single-equation estimates. To obtain a satisfactory specification of the long-run relations and the short-run dynamics of the system around equilibrium, a sequential procedure is devised and applied. In Part II, the controversy between "real" and "monetary" theories of fluctuations is examined (Chapter 4). A "monetary" equilibrium model of the cycle is constructed, extending the original Lucas "island" framework to allow for a powerful role for stabilization policy. The implications of alternative monetary policy regimes are derived and tested on U.S. data, comparing two periods (1922-1940 and 1952-1968) with a different policy stance. Chapter 5 investigates the relative importance of the "money" and "credit" channels of monetary transmission for Italy in the 1982-1994 period, using a structural VAR methodology. Monetary policy is effective, though not through a "credit channel", and independent disturbances to credit supply have sizeable real effects. In Chapter 6 the focus is shifted to anticipated fiscal policy actions and their effect on consumption. A long series of pre-announced income tax changes is examined for the U.K. Consumption reacts to such fiscally-induced disposable income changes only at the implementation dates.