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Imperfect Central Bank Communication: Information versus Distraction

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Author Info

  • Spencer Dale

    ()
    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Athanasios Orphanides

    ()
    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • Par Osterholm

    ()
    (Uppsala University)

Abstract

Much of the information communicated by central banks is noisy or imperfect. This paper considers the potential benefits and limitations of central bank communications in a model of imperfect knowledge and learning. It is shown that the value of communicating imperfect information is ambiguous. If the public is able to assess accurately the quality of the imperfect information communicated by a central bank, such communication can inform and improve the public’s decisions and expectations. But if not, communicating imperfect communication has the potential to mislead and distract. The risk that imperfect communication may detract from the public’s understanding should be considered in the context of a central bank’s communications strategy. The risk of distraction means the central bank may prefer to focus its communication policies on the information it knows most about. Indeed, conveying more certain information may improve the public’s understanding to the extent that it "crowds out" a role for communicating imperfect information.

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File URL: http://www.centralbank.gov.cy/media/pdf/NPWPE_No1_022008.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Central Bank of Cyprus in its series Working Papers with number 2008-1.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cyb:wpaper:2008-1

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Web page: http://www.centralbank.gov.cy/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=1
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Related research

Keywords: Transparency; forecasts; learning;

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References

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  1. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Winkler, Bernhard, 2000. "Which kind of transparency? On the need for clarity in monetary policy-making," Working Paper Series 0026, European Central Bank.
  3. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central-bank communication and policy effectiveness," Discussion Papers 0506-07, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Frederic S Mishkin, 2004. "Can Central Bank Transparency Go Too Far?," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & Simon Guttmann (ed.), The Future of Inflation Targeting Reserve Bank of Australia.
  5. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  6. Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Is Central Bank Transparency Desirable?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Takeshi Kimura & Kosuke Aoki, 2009. "Central Bank's Two-Way Communication with the Public and Inflation Dynamics," 2009 Meeting Papers 108, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Salle, Isabelle & Yıldızoğlu, Murat & Sénégas, Marc-Alexandre, 2013. "Inflation targeting in a learning economy: An ABM perspective," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 114-128.
  3. Cruijsen, C.A.B. van der & Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Hoogduin, L.H., 2010. "Optimal Central Bank transparency," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4163962, Tilburg University.
  4. Rhee, Hyuk Jae & Turdaliev, Nurlan, 2013. "Central bank transparency: Does it matter?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 183-197.
  5. Svensson, Lars E O, 2009. "Transparency under Flexible Inflation Targeting: Experiences and Challenges," CEPR Discussion Papers 7213, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kosuke Aoki & Takeshi Kimura, 2008. "Central bank's two-way communication with the public and inflation dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25483, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Pierre L. Siklos, 2013. "The Global Financial Crisis and the Language of Central Banking: Central Bank Guidance in Good Times and in Bad," CAMA Working Papers 2013-58, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  8. Beechey, Meredith & Österholm, Pär, 2012. "Policy Interest-Rate Expectations in Sweden: A Forecast Evaluation," Working Paper 127, National Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Martin Cihák & Katerina Smídková & Ales Bulir, 2008. "Writing Clearly: ECB’s Monetary Policy Communication," IMF Working Papers 08/252, International Monetary Fund.

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