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Central Bank Communication and Expectations Stabilization

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  • Stefano Eusepi
  • Bruce Preston

Abstract

This paper analyzes the value of communication in the implementation of monetary policy. The central bank is uncertain about the current state of the economy. Households and firms are uncertain about the statistical properties of aggregate variables, including nominal interest rates, and must learn about their dynamics using historical data. Given these uncertainties, when the central bank implements optimal policy, the Taylor principle is not sufficient for macroeconomic stability: for reasonable parameterizations self-fulfilling expectations are possible. To mitigate this instability, three communication strategies are contemplated: i) communicating the precise details of the monetary policy -- that is, the variables and coefficients; ii) communicating only the variables on which monetary policy decisions are conditioned; and iii) communicating the inflation target. The first two strategies restore the Taylor principle as a sufficient condition for stabilizing expectations. In contrast, in economies with persistent shocks, communicating the inflation target fails to protect against expectations driven fluctuations. These results underscore the importance of communicating the systematic component of monetary policy strategy: announcing an inflation target is not enough to stabilize expectations -- one must also announce how this target will be achieved.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13259.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Publication status: published as Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2007. "Central bank communication and expectations stabilization," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13259

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  1. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2008. "Stabilizing Expectations under Monetary and Fiscal Policy Coordination," NBER Working Papers 14391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2008. "Expectations, Learning and Business Cycle Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 14181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Preston, Bruce, 2006. "Adaptive learning, forecast-based instrument rules and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 507-535, April.
  4. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2010. "Central Bank Communication and Expectations Stabilization," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 235-71, July.
  5. Preston, Bruce, 2005. "Learning about Monetary Policy Rules when Long-Horizon Expectations Matter," MPRA Paper 830, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Ferrero, Giuseppe, 2007. "Monetary policy, learning and the speed of convergence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 3006-3041, September.
  7. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  8. Mauro Roca, 2010. "Transparency and Monetary Policy with Imperfect Common Knowledge," IMF Working Papers 10/91, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Preston, Bruce, 2008. "Adaptive learning and the use of forecasts in monetary policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 3661-3681, November.
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