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Structural uncertainty and central bank conservatism: the ignorant should keep their eyes shut

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  • Michael Spagat
  • Joao Mauricio Rosal

Abstract

We study the problem of a central bank whose policy actions simultaneously affect the information flow about its expectations-augmented Phillips curve and its reputation for toughness in fighting inflation. In an environment with an unknown relationship between inflation surprises and output, big inflation surprises yield big short-term output gains and a strong information flow. Yet optimal policy is very conservative because inflation surprises yield information that increases the volatility of both future inflationary expectations and inflation itself. In fact, the more there is that can be learned about the Phillips curve the less does optimal policy aim towards learning.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Money Macro and Finance Research Group in its series Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 with number 93.

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Date of creation: 27 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:mmf:mmfc03:93

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  1. Honkapohja, S. & Evans, G.W., 2000. "Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies," University of Helsinki, Department of Economics 481, Department of Economics.
  2. Jensen, Henrik, 2001. "Optimal Degrees of Transparency in Monetary Policymaking," CEPR Discussion Papers 2689, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J & Kihlstrom, Richard E & Mirman, Leonard J, 1977. "A Bayesian Approach to the Production of Information and Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 533-47, October.
  4. Hans Gersbach, 2003. "On the negative social value of central banks' knowledge transparency," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 91-102, 08.
  5. David Backus & John Driffill, 1984. "Inflation and Reputation," Working Papers 560, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Balvers, Ronald J & Cosimano, Thomas F, 1994. "Inflation Variability and Gradualist Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 721-38, October.
  7. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1996. "Monetary Policy as a Process of Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 689-702, September.
  8. Wieland, Volker, 1999. "Monetary policy, parameter uncertainty and optimal learning," ZEI Working Papers B 09-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  9. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 1991. "Learning, Experimentation and Monetary Policy," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1991018, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  10. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  11. Prescott, Edward C, 1972. "The Multi-Period Control Problem Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1043-58, November.
  12. 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.
  13. Ellison, Martin & Valla, Natacha, 2000. "Learning, uncertainty and central bank activism in an economy with strategic interactions," Working Paper Series 0028, European Central Bank.
  14. Honkapohja, Seppo & Mitra, Kaushik, 2005. "Performance of monetary policy with internal central bank forecasting," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 627-658, April.
  15. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Zhang, Lei & Marcus Miller & Kannika Thampanishvong, 2003. "Learning to Forget? Contagion and Political Risk in Brazil," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 227, Royal Economic Society.
  2. Ellison, Martin, 2006. "The learning cost of interest rate reversals," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1895-1907, November.

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