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How should central banks communicate?

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Author Info

  • Ehrmann, Michael
  • Fratzscher, Marcel

Abstract

The paper shows that central bank communication is a key determinant of the market’s ability to anticipate monetary policy decisions and the future path of interest rates. Comparing communication policies by the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the ECB since 1999, we find that communicating the diversity of views among committee members about monetary policy lowers the market’s ability to anticipate policy decisions as well as the future path of interest rates. This effect is sizeable, accounting for instance for one third to half of the prediction errors of FOMC policy decisions. By contrast, individualistic communication regarding the economic outlook is found to be beneficial for the Federal Reserve, enabling market participants to better anticipate the future path of interest rates. Thus, it is the collegiality of views on monetary policy but the diversity of views on the economic outlook that enhance the effectiveness of central bank communication. JEL Classification: E43, E52, E58, G12

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0557.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20050557

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Related research

Keywords: Bank of England; committee; communication; economic outlook; effectiveness; European Central Bank; Federal Reserve; monetary policy;

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References

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  1. M. Ehrmann & M. Fratzscher, 2003. "Interdependence between the Euro area and the U.S.: what role for EMU?," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central-bank communication and policy effectiveness," Discussion Papers 0506-07, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. 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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  6. 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.
  7. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Transparency, disclosure and the federal reserve," Working Paper Series 0457, European Central Bank.
  8. David-Jan Jansen & Jakob de Haan, 2004. "Look Who's Talking: ECB communication during the first years of EMU," DNB Working Papers 007, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  9. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2007. "Communication by Central Bank Committee Members: Different Strategies, Same Effectiveness?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 509-541, 03.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary policy alternatives at the zero bound: an empirical assessment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  13. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2003. "Equal size, equal role? Interest rate interdependence between the Euro area and the United States," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/46, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  14. Refet Gurkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Macroeconomics 0504013, EconWPA.
  15. Blinder, Alan S & Morgan, John, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better than One? Monetary Policy by Committee," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 789-811, October.
  16. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Communication and decision-making by central bank committees: different strategies, same effectiveness?," Working Paper Series 0488, European Central Bank.
  17. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  18. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2004. "Is the MPC's Voting Record Informative about Future UK Monetary Policy?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 299-313, 06.
  19. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
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  21. Gerlach, Stefan, 2004. "Interest Rate Setting by the ECB: Words and Deeds," CEPR Discussion Papers 4775, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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