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Business cycles in Ethiopia under alternative monetary policy rules

Wondemhunegn Ezezew Melesse (Department of Economics, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia)

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

ISSN: 2040-0705

Article publication date: 18 June 2019

Issue publication date: 19 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to compare business cycle fluctuations in Ethiopia under interest rate and money growth rules.


In order to achieve this objective, the author constructs a medium-scale open economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. The model features several nominal and real distortions including habit formation in consumption, price rigidity, deviation from purchasing power parity and imperfect capital mobility. The paper also distinguishes between liquidity-constrained and Ricardian households. The model parameters are calibrated for the Ethiopian economy based on data covering the period January 2000–April 2015.


The main result suggests that: the model economy with money growth rule is substantially less powerful or more muted for the amplification and transmission of exogenous shocks originating from government spending programs, monetary policy, technological progress and exchange rate movements. The responses of output to fiscal policy shocks are relatively stronger under autarky which appears to confirm the findings of Ilzetzki et al. (2013) who suggest bigger multipliers in self-sufficient, closed economies. With regard to positive productivity shock, however, the model with interest rate feedback rule generates a decline in output and an increase in inflation, which are at odds with conventional empirical regularities.

Research limitations/implications

The major implication is that a central bank regulating some measure of monetary stocks should not expect (fear) as much expansion (contraction) in output following currency devaluation (liquidity withdrawal) as a sister central bank that relies on an interest rate feedback rule. As emphasized by Mishra et al. (2010) the necessary conditions for stronger transmission of interest-rule-based monetary policy shocks are hardly existent in emerging and developing economies targeting monetary aggregates; hence the relatively weaker responses of output and inflation in the model economy with money growth rule. Monetary policy authorities need to be cautious when using DSGE models to analyze business cycle dynamics. Quite often, DSGE models tend to mimic the proverbial “crooked house” built to every man’s advise. Whenever additional modification is made to an existing baseline model, previously established regularities break down. For instance, this paper documented negative response of output to technology shock. Such contradictions are not uncommon. For example, Furlanetto (2006) and Ramayandi (2008) have also found similarly inconsistent responses to fiscal and productivity shocks, respectively.


Using DSGE models for research and teaching purposes is not common in developing economies. To the best of the author’s knowledge, only one other Ethiopian author did apply DSGE model to study business cycle fluctuation in Ethiopia albeit under the implausible assumption of perfect capital mobility and a central bank following interest rate rule. The contribution of this paper is that it departs from these two unrealistic assumptions by allowing international risk premium as a function of the net foreign asset position of the country and by applying money growth rule which closely mimics the behavior of central banks in low-income economies such as Ethiopia.



Melesse, W.E. (2019), "Business cycles in Ethiopia under alternative monetary policy rules", African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 299-313.



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