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Federal Reserve transparency and financial market forecasts of short-term interest rates

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  • Eric T. Swanson

Abstract

The 1990s and early 2000s witnessed an unprecedented increase in central bank transparency around the world, yet there has been little empirical work that convincingly demonstrates any economic benefits of increased central bank transparency. This paper shows that, since the late 1980s, U.S, financial markets and private sector forecasters have become: 1) better able to forecast the federal funds rate at horizons out to several months, 2) less surprised by Federal Reserve announcements, 3) more certain of their interest rate forecasts ex ante, as measured by interest rate options, and 4) less diverse in the cross-sectional variety of their interest rate forecasts. We also show that increases in Federal Reserve transparency are likely to have played a role: for example, private sector forecasts of GDP and inflation have not experienced similar improvements over the same period, indicating that the improvement in interest rate forecasts has been special.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2004-06.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-06

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Keywords: Monetary policy ; Transparency in government;

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  1. Laurence Ball & Niamh Sheridan, 2004. "Does inflation targeting matter?," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 118, Netherlands Central Bank.
  2. Jon Faust & Eric Swanson & and Jonathan H. Wright, 2002. "Identifying vars based on high frequency futures data," International Finance Discussion Papers 720, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. William Poole & Robert Rasche, 2000. "Perfecting the Market's Knowledge of Monetary Policy," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 255-298, December.
  4. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
  5. Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
  6. Jon Faust & John H. Rogers & Eric Swanson & Jonathan H. Wright, 2003. "Identifying the Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks on Exchange Rates Using High Frequency Data," NBER Working Papers 9660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1997. "Inflation targeting: lessons from four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 9-110.
  8. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  9. M. Demertzis & A. Hughes Hallet, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency in Theory and Practice," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 704, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  10. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
  11. Lange, Joe & Sack, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2003. " Anticipations of Monetary Policy in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 889-909, December.
  12. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, July.
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