Testing for Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences

  •  Felix Nyumuah    


The linear specification of the ideal monetary policy reaction function has been questioned in recent times by researchers. They have suggested a nonlinear framework where central banks exhibit asymmetric behaviours. Despite the important policy implications of having asymmetric central bank preferences, studies have been on single-country basis focusing almost entirely on advanced economies. The aim of this study is to check the existence of asymmetric preferences on the part of central banks in the context of a panel of countries and not just a single a country. The study derives and estimates a nonlinear flexible optimal monetary policy rule, which permits zone-like as well as asymmetric behaviours using panel data from a range of countries both developed and less developed. Although the findings indicate the presence of asymmetric preferences on the output gap across less developed countries, generally, the evidence is in favour of a linear policy reaction function and symmetric central bank preferences. These findings mean that monetary policy is characterised by a linear policy rule and symmetric central bank preferences. The results also indicate that interest rate ‘smoothing’ reaction by monetary authorities is more pronounced in less developed countries than in developed ones.

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