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Inflation Targeting, Transparency and Interest Rate Volatility: Ditching 'Monetary Mystique' in the UK

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Monetary authorities often seem reluctant to discuss the conduct of monetary policy. There is a concern that greater openness in monetary policy-making may lead to volatility in financial markets, and specifically in interest rates. To date there is very little direct empirical evidence; however, recent changes in the monetary policy framework in the UK provide an opportunity to gain some insight on this issue. First, the authors present a model of monetary policy showing that the volatility that would otherwise occur to aggregate prices is transmitted to the rate of interest in a tightly specified nominal regime. Under some circumstances, information flows may add to volatility; if volatility is harmful, then central bankers may be right to be reticent. However, the evidence suggests that even though volatility has risen in the recent past, there is no evidence that this volatility is directly attributable to increased information flows per se.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 9921.

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Date of creation: Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:9921

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Keywords: Monetary regimes; Inflation targeting; Interest rate volatility;

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  1. Muscatelli, Anton, 1998. "Optimal Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets with Uncertain Central Bank Preferences: Accountability through Independence?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 529-42, March.
  2. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1989. "Target Zones and Interest Rate Variability," NBER Working Papers 3218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bomberger, William A, 1996. "Disagreement as a Measure of Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 381-92, August.
  4. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  5. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "A simplified treatment of the theory of optimal regulation of Brownian motion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 657-673, October.
  6. Gerlach, Stefan, 1994. "On the symmetry between inflation and exchange rate targets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 133-137.
  7. Pesaran, B & Robinson, G, 1993. "The European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Volatility of the Sterling-Deutschemark Exchange Rate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1418-31, November.
  8. Marvin Goodfriend, 1985. "Monetary mystique : secrecy and central banking," Working Paper 85-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  9. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  10. Froot, Kenneth A. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Exchange-rate dynamics under stochastic regime shifts : A unified approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 203-229, November.
  11. Harvey, Andrew & Ruiz, Esther & Shephard, Neil, 1994. "Multivariate Stochastic Variance Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 247-64, April.
  12. Krugman, Paul R, 1991. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 669-82, August.
  13. King, Mervyn, 1997. "Changes in UK monetary policy: Rules and discretion in practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 81-97, June.
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