I compare nominal GDP level targeting to flexible inflation targeting in a small New Keynesian model subject to the zero lower bound on nominal policy rates. First, I study the performance of optimal discretionary policies. I find that, for a standard calibration, inflation targeting under discretion leaves the economy open to a deflationary trap. Nominal GDP level targeting under discretion, by contrast, provides a firm nominal anchor to the economy. Second, I study simple policy rules and the role of smoothing in the rules. With smoothing, a Taylor-type rule performs as well as a nominal GDP level rule. These result suggest that inflation targeting should not be ditched. Still, it can be improved significantly, by using policy rate smoothing to anchor inflation firmly.
nominal GDP target optimal policy simple rules zero lower bound