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Imperfect Central Bank Communication: Information versus Distraction

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  • Dale, Spencer

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Orphanides, Athanasios

    ()
    (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • Österholm, Pär

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

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, communi-cating imperfect communication has the potential to mislead and distract. The risk that imperfect communication may detract from the publics understanding should be considered in the context of a central banks communications strategy. The risk of distraction means the central bank may prefer to focus its communi-cation policies on the information it knows most about. Indeed, conveying more certain information may improve the public`s under-standing to the extent that it "crowds out" a role for communicating imperfect information.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008:3.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 25 Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2008_003

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Keywords: Transparency; Forecasts; Learning;

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References

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  1. Winkler, Bernhard, 2000. "Which kind of transparency? On the need for clarity in monetary policy-making," Working Paper Series 0026, European Central Bank.
  2. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2003. "Imperfect knowledge, inflation expectations, and monetary policy," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/40, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  3. Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Is Central Bank Transparency Desirable?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central bank communication and policy effectiveness," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 399-474.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2013. "Dispersed communication by central bank committees and the predictability of monetary policy decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 223-244, October.
  2. Carin A.B. van der Cruijsen & Sylvester C.W. Eijffinger & Lex H. Hoogduin, 2008. "Optimal Central Bank Transparency," DNB Working Papers 178, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  3. Svensson, Lars E O, 2009. "Transparency under Flexible Inflation Targeting: Experiences and Challenges," CEPR Discussion Papers 7213, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Beechey, Meredith & Österholm, Pär, 2012. "Policy Interest-Rate Expectations in Sweden: A Forecast Evaluation," Working Paper 127, National Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Isabelle SALLE (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Murat YILDIZOGLU (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Marc-Alexandre SENEGAS (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2012. "Inflation targeting in a learning economy: An ABM perspective," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-15, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  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. Rhee, Hyuk Jae & Turdaliev, Nurlan, 2013. "Central bank transparency: Does it matter?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 183-197.
  9. Martin Cihák & Katerina Smídková & Ales Bulir, 2008. "Writing Clearly," IMF Working Papers 08/252, International Monetary Fund.

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