MONETARY POLICY ACTIVISM UNDER MANAGED-FLOATING EXCHANGE RATES: A CROSS-COUNTRY COMPARISON
HENRY N. GOLDSTEIN
STEPHEN E. HAYNES
This paper assesses the degree and pattern of monetary policy activism in the United States, Canada, West Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan during the recent period in which managed-floating exchange rates prevailed. Floating exchange rates enhance the potency of a discretionary monetary policy. Yet central banks in these countries shifted toward less discretionary monetary targeting during the late 1970s in response to rising inflationary pressures and expectations. But whether such targeting actually reduced policy activism is unclear since targets were expressed in wide ranges and often were missed. Following 1981, at least three of these countries-the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom-reverted to an avowedly more discretionary pattern of response to changes in real demand pressures, interest rates, and exchange rates. Since mid-1986, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan-and, to a lesser extent, Canada-have intervened heavily in the foreign exchange market and so have greatly increased their official dollar holdings. Moreover, through August 1987, the effects of this intervention on these countries' domestic money supplies apparently have been sterilized only partially. Copyright 1989 Western Economic Association International.
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