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Does the Federal Reserve possess an exploitable informational advantage?

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  • Joe Peek
  • Eric S. Rosengren
  • Geoffrey M. B. Tootell

Abstract

This paper provides evidence that the Federal Reserve has an informational advantage over the public that can be exploited to improve activist monetary policy. The informational advantage derives from the Fed?s role as a bank supervisor, and it is shown to be of sufficient duration to be effective in guiding activist monetary policy, even in simple rational expectations models. The informational superiority does not result from the Fed having earlier access to publicly released data about the financial condition of banks. Instead, this informational advantage is generated by confidential supervisory knowledge about troubled, non-publicly traded banks. As a result, this information can remain confidential for an extended period of time because these banks do not have an incentive to fully disclose publicly the extent of their financial troubles, and, since they are not publicly traded, are not required to do so. The improvement in forecasts using this confidential information is both statistically significant and economically important, providing a potential justification for activist monetary policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 99-8.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:99-8

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Keywords: Bank supervision ; Monetary policy;

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References

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  1. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1999. "Is the Fed too timid? Monetary policy in an uncertain world," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 99-05, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Barro, Robert J., 1976. "Rational expectations and the role of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-32, January.
  3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1975. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1113-44, December.
  4. Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, 1997. "How farsighted is the FOMC?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 49-65.
  5. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1990. "Testing the Rationality of Price Forecasts: New Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 714-35, September.
  6. Sack, Brian, 2000. "Does the fed act gradually? A VAR analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 229-256, August.
  7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  8. Alex Cukierman, 1989. "Why does the Fed smooth interest rates?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, pages 111-157.
  9. Anil K. Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Monetary Policy and Bank Lending," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 221-261 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 1999. "Is Bank Supervision Central To Central Banking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 629-653, May.
  11. 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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  14. Anil K Kashyap & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "The Impact of Monetary Policy on Bank Balance Sheets," NBER Working Papers 4821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jeremy C. Stein & Anil K. Kashyap, 2000. "What Do a Million Observations on Banks Say about the Transmission of Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 407-428, June.
  16. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Marvin Goodfriend, 1990. "Interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy," Working Paper 90-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  18. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  19. Cook, Timothy & Hahn, Thomas, 1989. "The effect of changes in the federal funds rate target on market interest rates in the 1970s," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 331-351, November.
  20. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  21. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-54, April.
  22. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1996. "Federal Reserve Private Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," NBER Working Papers 5692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  24. Taylor, John B, 1979. "Staggered Wage Setting in a Macro Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 108-13, May.
  25. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1990. "Liquidity and interest rates," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 237-264, April.
  26. Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 1991. "Regional economic conditions and the FOMC votes of district presidents," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 3-16.
  27. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Georgios Chortareas & David Stasavage & Gabriel Sterne, 2001. "Does it pay to be transparent? International evidence from central bank forecasts," Bank of England working papers 143, Bank of England.
  2. Gersbach, Hans & Hahn, Volker, 2006. "Signaling And Commitment: Monetary Versus Inflation Targeting," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(05), pages 595-624, November.
  3. Lea Zicchino & Erlend Nier, 2008. "Bank Losses, Monetary Policy and Financial Stability-Evidenceon the Interplay From Panel Data," IMF Working Papers 08/232, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Elmar Mertens, 2010. "Managing beliefs about monetary policy under discretion," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Thomas J. Cunningham, 2006. "The predictive power of the Senior Loan Officer Survey: do lending officers know anything special?," Working Paper 2006-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Paul Hubert, 2009. "Informational Advantage and Influence of Communicating Central Banks," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2009-04, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  7. Jung, Alexander & El-Shagi, Makram & Giesen, Sebastian, 2013. "Does Central Bank Staff Beat Private Forecasters?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79925, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. Palvia, Ajay A., 2011. "Banks and managerial discipline: Does regulatory monitoring play a role?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 56-68, February.
  9. Franck, Raphaël & Krausz, Miriam, 2008. "Why separate monetary policy from banking supervision?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 388-411, September.
  10. El-Shagi, Makram & Giesen, Sebastian & Jung, Alexander, 2014. "Does the federal reserve staff still beat private forecasters?," Working Paper Series 1635, European Central Bank.
  11. Grunspan, T., 2005. "The Fed and the Question of Financial Stability: An Empirical Investigation," Working papers 134, Banque de France.
  12. Paul Hubert, 2010. "Monetary Policy, Imperfect Information and the Expectations Channel," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1u, Sciences Po.
  13. Allen N. Berger & Margaret K. Kyle & Joseph M. Scalise, 2000. "Did U.S. bank supervisors get tougher during the credit crunch? Did they get easier during the banking boom? Did it matter to bank lending?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-39, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Paul Hubert, 2009. "An Empirical Review of Federal Reserve’s Informational Advantage," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2009-03, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  15. Marta Areosa & Waldyr Areosa, 2012. "Asset Prices and Monetary Policy – A sticky-dispersed information model," Working Papers Series 285, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
  16. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/f4rshpf3v1umfa09lat09b1bg is not listed on IDEAS

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