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Rational Ambiguity and Monitoring the Central Bank

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Author Info

  • Maria Demertzis

    (De Nederlandsche Bank)

  • Andrew Hughes Hallett

    (Vanderbilt University and CEPR)

Abstract

In this paper we examine the consequences of having a Central Bank whose preferences are state contingent. This has variously been identified in the literature as a Central Bank that is "rationally inattentive", "risk averse", or "constructively ambiguous". The new feature in this paper is that we show how the private sector is likely to react. There are two possibilities: the public can form rational expectations and internalize the uncertainty about the Bank's preferences in full. Alternatively, and particularly if the process of internalization is costly, it can form a best guess regarding those preferences. This latter case implies a strategy of certainty equivalence. We examine the magnitude of the resulting error in inflation and output if the certainty equivalence approximation is used. Under all reasonable levels of uncertainty, the error turns out to be small. In that case, the certainty equivalence strategy would be "rational". But it involves trading off accepting a deflation bias against the cost of gathering the information needed to calculate the full rational expectations solution.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu04-w04.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0404.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0404

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Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

Related research

Keywords: Central Bank Transparency; Certainty Equivalence; Rational Expectatatins; Ambiguity and Rational Inattention;

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References

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  1. Maria Demertzis & Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2004. "Central bank transparency in theory and practice," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 23, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  2. Walsh, Carl E, 1999. "Announcements, Inflation Targeting and Central Bank Incentives," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 255-69, May.
  3. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2004. "Monetary policy and exchange rate volatility in a small open economy," Economics Working Papers 835, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Jon Faust & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "The equilibrium degree of transparency and control in monetary policy," International Finance Discussion Papers 651, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Sibert, Anne, 2001. "Monetary Policy With Uncertain Central Bank Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 3113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Muscatelli, Anton, 1998. "Optimal Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets with Uncertain Central Bank Preferences: Accountability through Independence?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 529-42, March.
  7. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy: Expanded Version," NBER Technical Working Papers 0233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jon Faust & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1998. "Transparency and credibility: monetary policy with unobservable goals," International Finance Discussion Papers 605, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent & Thomas D. Tallarini Jr., 1997. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," Levine's Working Paper Archive 596, David K. Levine.
  10. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 2003. "Three Models of Imperfect Transparency in Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4117, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  12. Hughes Hallett, A. J., 1979. "Computing revealed preferences and limits to the validity of quadratic objective functions for policy optimization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 27-32.
  13. Hallett, A. J. Hughes, 1984. "Optimal stockpiling in a high-risk commodity market the case of copper," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 211-238, November.
  14. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  15. 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.
  16. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  17. Hughes Hallett, A. J., 1984. "On alternative methods of generating risk sensitive decision rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-2), pages 37-44.
  18. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Buigut, Steven & Valev, Neven T., 2009. "Benefits from Mutual Restraint in a Multilateral Monetary Union," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 585-594, March.

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