The Swiss National Bank's monetary policy concept - an example of a 'principles-based' policy framework

Ernst Baltensperger, Philipp M. Hildebrand and Thomas J. Jordan



JEL classification
E42, E52, E58

Swiss National Bank, monetary policy, inflation targeting, rules, discretion


The practice of monetary policy has evolved a great deal since the early 1990s. This evolution was significantly influenced by rapid developments in the theory of monetary policy. A new consensus about 'principles-based' monetary policy appears to be emerging. It marries a firm long-term anchor for nominal stability, rooted in the original ideas behind inflation targeting, with short-term flexibility, based on a more discretionary and pragmatic approach to monetary policy. The SNB's monetary policy framework - with a firm nominal anchor but with an emphasis on the need for flexibility - reflects, to a considerable degree, the emerging academic consensus about best-practice monetary policy. With its successful seven-year track record, it may serve as an interesting case study for a policy aiming at an intermediate position between full discretion and rigidly defined short-term inflation targeting.