A statistical methodology is developed to identify, for calendar years between 1974 and 2012, when policymakers in ‘advanced’ economies have pursued single objectives of different kinds, or multiple objectives. A simple criterion is then used to distinguish between multiple objectives pure and simple and multiple objectives subject to a price stability constraint. Unconditional and conditional analyses of the inflation and growth associated with different types of objectives reveal that multiple objectives subject to a price stability constraint are associated with roughly as good economic performance as the single objective of inflation. A proposal is then made as to how the remit of an inflation-targeting central bank could be adjusted to allow it to pursue other objectives in extremis without losing the credibility effects associated with inflation targeting.
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