Jeffrey Frankel, Emerging-Market, nominal GDP growth, inflation and monetary policy Mando Gomez/Flickr

Emerging-Market Target Practice

Since the currency crashes of the 1990s, emerging and developing countries have tended to anchor monetary policy in targets for consumer price inflation. But, given that these countries' central banks tend to miss their targets even more often than the advanced countries do, they ought to consider switching to a nominal-GDP anchor.

ISTANBUL – Central bankers want only a few things. To achieve any of them they usually seek to nudge inflation expectations, demonstrate the transparency of monetary policy, and establish their institutions’ credibility. To communicate their intentions simply and clearly, they may set an explicit target range in terms of a particular economic variable, or announce a forecast for the variable, or offer forward guidance by specifying a threshold value for it that must be met before changing interest rates.

But what should that one economic variable be? In the 1980s, major advanced countries tried the money supply. After the monetarist approach failed, some switched to targeting the inflation rate. But they repeatedly missed their targets.

Until the currency crashes of the 1990s, emerging and developing countries tended to target their exchange rates. Many then also switched to inflation targets; but they tend to miss these targets even more often than the advanced countries do.

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