• E31;
  • E52;
  • E58
  • monetary policy;
  • inflation;
  • output;
  • risk;
  • preferences;
  • policy rule;
  • Greenspan

We derive a natural generalization of the Taylor rule that links changes in the interest rate to the balance of the risks implied by the dual objective of sustainable economic growth and price stability. This monetary policy rule reconciles economic models of expected utility maximization with the risk management approach to central banking. Within this framework, we formally test and reject the standard assumption of quadratic and symmetric preferences in inflation and output that underlies the derivation of the Taylor rule. Our results suggest that Fed policy decisions under Greenspan were better described in terms of the Fed weighing upside and downside risks to their objectives rather than simply responding to the conditional mean of inflation and of the output gap.