A tale of two perspectives: old or new challenges for monetary policy?

BIS Working Papers  |  No 127  | 
01 February 2003

This paper reviews the challenges faced by central banks in recent years in order to evaluate their policy implications going forward. To highlight the genuine uncertainty surrounding the lessons to be drawn, the paper examines recent experience through two intentionally polarised perspectives, viz. the "continuity" and "new-environment" views. These perspectives lead to somewhat different conclusions regarding the nature of the challenges central banks are likely to face in the current economic landscape and the policy responses that may be appropriate. While the continuity view stresses the reliability of traditional policy benchmarks, the newenvironment view suggests that it may be worth considering assigning greater weight to the build-up of financial imbalances when calibrating policy. Such an approach could be consistent with current policy frameworks, but it would point to a somewhat longer horizon for evaluating policy alternatives as well as greater attention to the balance of risks to the outlook.

JEL classification: E30, E44, E50

Keywords: inflation, business fluctuations, monetary stability, financial stability, financial imbalances, monetary policy