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The Mystique of Central Bank Speak

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  • Petra M. Geraats

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge)

Abstract

Despite the recent trend towards greater transparency of monetary policy, in many respects mystique still prevails in central bank speak. This paper shows that the resulting perception of ambiguity could be desirable. Under the plausible assumption of imperfect common knowledge about the degree of central bank transparency, economic outcomes are affected by both the actual and perceived degree of transparency. It is shown that actual transparency is beneficial while it may be useful to create the perception of opacity. The optimal communication strategy for the central bank is to provide clarity about the inflation target and to communicate information about the output target and supply shocks with perceived ambiguity. In this respect, the central bank benefits from sustaining transparency misperceptions, which helps to explain the mystique of central bank speak.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank) in its series Working Papers with number 123.

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Length: 44
Date of creation: 15 May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:123

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Keywords: Transparency; monetary policy; communication;

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  1. Petra M. Geraats, 2006. "Transparency of Monetary Policy: Theory and Practice," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(1), pages 111-152, March.
  2. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Jensen, Henrik, 2003. " Why Money Talks and Wealth Whispers: Monetary Uncertainty and Mystique: Comment," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(1), pages 129-36, February.
  3. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Hoeberichts, Marco & Schaling, Eric, 2000. "Why Money Talks and Wealth Whispers: Monetary Uncertainty and Mystique," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 218-35, May.
  4. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  5. Jensen, Henrik, 2002. " Optimal Degrees of Transparency in Monetary Policymaking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(3), pages 399-422, September.
  6. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2001. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 369-97, May.
  7. Geraats, P.M., 2004. "Transparency and Reputation: The Publication of Central Bank Forecasts," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0473, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1986. "Monetary mystique: Secrecy and central banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 63-92, January.
  9. S[empty]rensen, Jan Rose, 1991. "Political uncertainty and macroeconomic performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 377-381, December.
  10. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  11. Volker Hahn, 2009. "Transparency of Central Bank Preferences," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 32-49, 02.
  12. Geraats, P.M., 2004. "Modelling Stochastic Relative Preferences," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0468, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  13. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Cheap Talk and the Fed: A Theory of Imprecise Policy Announcements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 32-42, March.
  14. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
  15. 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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