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Purdah-On the Rationale for Central Bank Silence around Policy Meetings

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  • MICHAEL EHRMANN
  • MARCEL FRATZSCHER

Abstract

Many central banks share the practice of "purdah", a guideline of abstaining from communication around policy meetings. Although seemingly contradicting the virtue of transparency by withholding information precisely when it is sought after intensely, it has been justified on grounds that such communication may create excessive market volatility. This paper assesses the purdah for the Federal Reserve and confirms that financial markets are substantially more sensitive to central bank communication around policy meetings. Short-term interest rates react three to four times more strongly in the purdah before Federal Open Market Committee meetings than otherwise, and volatility increases (compared to a reduction otherwise). Copyright (c) 2009 The Ohio State University.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 41 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (03)
Pages: 517-528

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:41:y:2009:i:2-3:p:517-528

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-2879

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References

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  1. Refet Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2004. "Do actions speak louder than words? the response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-66, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 605-631, April.
  3. Jeffrey D. Amado & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2003. "Communication and Monetary Policy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1405, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central Bank Communication and Policy Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 11898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "How should central banks communicate?," Working Paper Series 0557, European Central Bank.
  6. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2004. "Can Central Bank Transparency Go Too Far?," NBER Working Papers 10829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2007. "Transparency, Disclosure, and the Federal Reserve," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(1), pages 179-225, March.
  8. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  9. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
  10. Guthrie, Graeme & Wright, Julian, 2000. "Open mouth operations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 489-516, October.
  11. Glenn D. Rudebusch & John C. Williams, 2006. "Revealing the Secrets of the Temple: The Value of Publishing Central Bank Interest Rate Projections," NBER Working Papers 12638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Communication and decision-making by central bank committees: different strategies, same effectiveness?," Working Paper Series 0488, European Central Bank.
  13. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Esteban Colla De Robertis & Last: Colla De Robertis, 2010. "Monetary policy committees and the decision to publish voting records," Documentos de Investigación - Research Papers 1, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA.
  2. Carin A.B. van der Cruijsen & Sylvester C.W. Eijffinger & Lex H. Hoogduin, 2008. "Optimal Central Bank Transparency," DNB Working Papers 178, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  3. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob de Haan, 2009. "Does central bank communication really lead to better forecasts of policy decisions? New evidence based on a Taylor rule model for the ECB," KOF Working papers 09-236, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  4. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob De Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Angelo Ranaldo & Enzo Rossi, 2007. "The reaction of asset markets to Swiss National Bank communication," Working Papers 2007-11, Swiss National Bank.
  6. Moessner, Richhild & Allen, William A., 2013. "Central bank swap line effectiveness during the euro area sovereign debt crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 167-178.
  7. Roman HORVATH & Pavel KARAS, 2013. "Central Bank Communication and Interest Rates: The Case of the Czech National Bank," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 63(5), pages 454-464, November.
  8. Born, Benjamin & Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2010. "Macroprudential policy and central bank communication," CEPR Discussion Papers 8094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Kevin Krieger & Nathan Mauck & Denghui Chen, 2012. "VIX changes and derivative returns on FOMC meeting days," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 315-331, September.
  10. Büchel, Konstantin, 2013. "Do words matter? The impact of communication on the PIIGS' CDS and bond yield spreads during Europe's sovereign debt crisis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 412-431.
  11. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2013. "Dispersed communication by central bank committees and the predictability of monetary policy decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 223-244, October.

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