November 14, 2000 This article summarizes the proceedings of a conference hosted by the Bank of Canada in November 1999. Three major themes emerged at the conference. The first concerned uncertainty about the transmission mechanism by which monetary policy affects output and inflation. The second concerned the potential usefulness of monetary aggregates in guiding the economy along a stable non-inflationary growth path. The third was the recent developments in dynamic monetary general-equilibrium models. The work presented suggests that a wide range of models is useful for understanding the various paths by which monetary policy actions might influence the economy.
The effective conduct of monetary policy is complicated by uncertainty about the level of potential output, and thus about the size of the monetary policy response that would be sufficient to achieve the targeted inflation rate. One possible response to such uncertainty is for the monetary authority to "probe," interpreted here as actively using its policy response to learn about the level of potential output.