August 21, 2002 Central banks must cope with considerable uncertainty about what will happen in the economy when formulating monetary policy. This article describes the different types of uncertainty that arise and looks at examples of uncertainty that the Bank has recently encountered. It then reviews the strategies employed by the Bank to deal with this problem. The other articles in this special issue focus on three of these major strategies.
August 18, 2002 The third strategy employed by the Bank when dealing with uncertainty is the consideration of appropriate simple reaction functions or "rules" for the setting of the policy interest rate. Since John Taylor's presentation of his much-discussed rule, research on simple policy rules has exploded. Simple rules have several advantages. In particular, they are easy to construct and communicate and are believed by some to be robust, in the sense of generating good results in a variety of economic models. This article provides an overview of the recent research regarding the usefulness and robustness of simple monetary policy rules, particularly in models of the Canadian economy. It also describes and explains the role of simple rules in the conduct of monetary policy in Canada.