Making monetary policy : caution, conservatism and the public supply of liquidity
This dissertation offers two perspectives on the making of monetary policy under uncertainty. The first two chapters examine the consequences of uncertainty for the macroeconomic function of the central bank - the stabilisation of macroeconomic variables of interest around socially desirable targets. The third chapter examines the consequences of uncertainty for the central bank's microeconomic function - the public supply of liquidity. The first chapter asks whether society benefits from the delegation of monetary policy to cautious and conservative central bankers. We offer a critical view on the delegation literature and relax seemingly innocuous assumptions about uncertainty and preferences. First, caution improves credibility but does not obviate the need for central-bank conservatism. Second, previous models of delegation have focused on suboptimal forms of conservatism. We derive optimal concepts of conservatism that mitigate, or eliminate, any residual problem of credibility. Third, we rationalize why credible monetary policy may be conducive to stable inflation and output. The second chapter examines the implications of instrument uncertainty for optimal monetary policy following the introduction of non-quadratic preferences. We investigate both symmetric and asymmetric preferences and discuss the consequences for caution, gradualism and the optimal delegation of monetary policy. The third chapter examines the microeconomic role of the central bank. We develop a rationale for the provision of public liquidity based on an incomplete contracting framework. The model illustrates to what extent wealth-constrained entrepreneurs are leveraged by collateralized debt contracts and examines the consequences of costly collateral liquidation and aggregate asset price uncertainty for the provision of external finance.