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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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References

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  1. Refet Gürkaynak & Brian Sack, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 323, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Jeffery D. Amato & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Communication and Monetary Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 495-503.
  3. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "How should central banks communicate?," Working Paper Series 0557, European Central Bank.
  4. 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.
  5. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2004. "Can Central Bank Transparency Go Too Far?," NBER Working Papers 10829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central Bank Communication and Policy Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 11898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Communication and decision-making by central bank committees: different strategies, same effectiveness?," Working Paper Series 0488, European Central Bank.
  8. 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.
  9. Glenn D. Rudebusch & John C. Williams, 2008. "Revealing the Secrets of the Temple: The Value of Publishing Central Bank Interest Rate Projections," NBER Chapters, in: Asset Prices and Monetary Policy, pages 247-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Transparency, disclosure and the federal reserve," Working Paper Series 0457, European Central Bank.
  12. Guthrie, Graeme & Wright, Julian, 2000. "Open mouth operations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 489-516, October.
  13. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Blinder, Alan S. & Ehrmann, Michael & de Haan, Jakob & Fratzscher, Marcel & Jansen, David-Jan, 2008. "Central Bank communication and monetary policy: a survey of theory and evidence," Working Paper Series 0898, European Central Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob Haan, 2011. "Does central bank communication really lead to better forecasts of policy decisions? New evidence based on a Taylor rule model for the ECB," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 41-58, April.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Cruijsen, C.A.B. van der & Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Hoogduin, L.H., 2008. "Optimal Central Bank Transparency," Discussion Paper 2008-59, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. 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.
  8. Benjamin Born & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2011. "Macroprudential policy and central bank communication," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Macroprudential regulation and policy, volume 60, pages 107-110 Bank for International Settlements.
  9. Ranaldo, Angelo & Rossi, Enzo, 2010. "The reaction of asset markets to Swiss National Bank communication," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 486-503, April.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

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