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Taylor rules revisited: ECB and Bundesbank in comparison


This paper analyses the interest rate-setting behaviour of the ECB and the former leading monetary authority in the Eurozone, the German Bundesbank, using Taylor rules in different GMM-estimation setups. The main findings are as follows: the Bundesbank was clearly stability oriented with regard to inflation and included output stabilization, interest rate smoothing and inflation forecasts in its decision-making process during the period under investigation, that is 1979M01-1998M12. Furthermore, evidence of the inclusion of the quantity of money in the decisions has been found at least for the 1980s. The estimation results for the ECB from 1999M01 onwards reveal a monetary policy that is less stability oriented than that of the Bundesbank in that it clearly violates the Taylor principle. According to this, the ECB cannot be seen as the successor of the Bundesbank as regards the way it has conducted monetary policy.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    While there is broad consensus concerning the smoothing parameter for quarterly data (1600), there is an ongoing discussion about the appropriate parameter for monthly data (Ravn and Uhlig 2002). Because of this, the alternative measure was used in the ECB estimations, since there is a high degree of uncertainty about the output gap, especially around the starting time of the financial crisis.

  2. 2.

    See Andrews (1999) and Andrews and Lu (2001) for similar model and moment selection criteria. For reasons of robustness, the GMM-BIC and the GMM-HQIC moment selection criteria proposed by Andrews (1999) were also checked, leading to similar results.

  3. 3.

    The ex-post data series were drawn using Thomson Reuters Datastream. The real-time series were drawn directly from the ECB homepage.

  4. 4.

    Monetary policy measures work not instantaneously but with a lag, so a forecast horizon of six or more months is plausible. See, for instance, Orphanides (2001) or Greenspan (1997).

  5. 5.

    Empirical evidence of the Taylor principle can be found in Taylor (1999), where the Fed’s monetary policy from 1879 to 1997 is examined. The finding here is that periods in which the central bank fulfilled the Taylor principle were characterized by lower production and inflation volatilities.

  6. 6.

    The target interest rate follows the EURIBOR series closely, so for reasons of clarity it is not shown here.

  7. 7.

    In a recently published study by Hayo and Méon (2013) the authors report evidence of national influences on ECB monetary policy decisions through voting behaviour.

  8. 8.

    See, for example, Hayo (2007) for a similar approach.

  9. 9.

    Here, the forecast horizon of seven months is used, since this specification gave the best RMSC in the setup for Eq. (3) in this subsample.

  10. 10.

    The average money growth over the whole subsample was used as the target money growth rate.

  11. 11.

    I owe this point to an anonymous referee.


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The author would like to thank Joscha Beckmann, Ansgar Belke, Michael Stein, the editor, Robert M. Kunst, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. The author is responsible for any remaining errors.

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Correspondence to Tobias R. Rühl.



See Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4 Review of Taylor rule estimations for the Bundesbank (Information)
Table 5 Review of Taylor rule estimations for the ECB (Information)

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Rühl, T.R. Taylor rules revisited: ECB and Bundesbank in comparison. Empir Econ 48, 951–967 (2015).

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  • Taylor rule
  • Monetary policy
  • ECB
  • Bundesbank

JEL Classification

  • E31
  • E43
  • E52
  • E58