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Monetary policy transparency: transparent about what?

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  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

This paper puts the issue of monetary policy transparency into a broad economic perspective. In so doing, it narrows the focus from that which frequently appears in this literature. The analysis is predicated on the assertion that the sole economic argument for transparency is policy effectiveness-transparency is desirable if it enhances the effectiveness of policy and is not, if it does not. In cases where transparency neither enhances nor impairs the effectiveness of policy, the case for transparency can be argued on non-economic grounds. This analysis has implications for several policy/transparency issues. Important among these is the assumption in this literature that inflation and output must be viewed by policymakers as substitutes. I suggest that policymakers might generate a better inflation/output outcome if they thought of inflation and output objectives as complements rather than substitutes.
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  • Daniel L. Thornton, 2003. "Monetary policy transparency: transparent about what?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 478-497, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:71:y:2003:i:5:p:478-497
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alex Cukierman, 2002. "Are contemporary central banks transparent about economic models and objectives and what difference does it make?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 15-36.
    2. Daniel L. Thornton, 2000. "Money in a theory of exchange," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 35-60.
    3. William Poole, 2002. "Inflation, recession and Fed policy," Speech 46, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    4. Thornton, Daniel L., 2005. "Tests of the expectations hypothesis: Resolving the anomalies when the short-term rate is the federal funds rate," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 2541-2556, October.
    5. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Monetary policy in the information economy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 297-370.
    6. Winkler, Bernhard, 2000. "Which kind of transparency? On the need for clarity in monetary policy-making," Working Paper Series 0026, European Central Bank.
    7. Sarno, Lucio & Thornton, Daniel L., 2003. "The dynamic relationship between the federal funds rate and the Treasury bill rate: An empirical investigation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1079-1110, June.
    8. James Bullard, 1998. "Trading trade-offs?," National Economic Trends, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Dec.
    9. Jensen, Henrik, 2002. " Optimal Degrees of Transparency in Monetary Policymaking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(3), pages 399-422, September.
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    11. Alvin L. Marty & Daniel L. Thornton, 1995. "Is there a case for "moderate" inflation?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 27-38.
    12. Daniel L. Thornton, 1996. "The costs and benefits of price stability: an assessment of Howitt's rule," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 23-38.
    13. Svensson, Lars E O, 2002. "The Inflation Forecast and the Loss Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 3365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
    15. Daniel L. Thornton, 1982. "Simple analytics of the money supply process and monetary control," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Oct, pages 22-39.
    16. Bennett T. McCallum, 2001. "Monetary policy analysis in models without money," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 145-164.
    17. Willem H. Buiter, 1999. "Alice in Euroland," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 181-209, June.
    18. Geraats, Petra Maria, 2001. "Precommitment, Transparency and Monetary Policy," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2001,12, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    19. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2002. "The Use and Meaning of Words in Central Banking: Inflation Targeting, Credibility, and Transparency," NBER Working Papers 8972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Sargent, Thomas J & Wallace, Neil, 1975. ""Rational" Expectations, the Optimal Monetary Instrument, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 241-254, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Howells & Iris Mariscal, 2006. "Monetary Policy Regimes. A Fragile Consensus," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 62-83.
    2. Daniel L. Thornton, 2004. "Testing the expectations hypothesis: some new evidence for Japan," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 21-40.
    3. Bjørn-Roger Wilhelmsen & Andrea Zaghini, 2011. "Monetary policy predictability in the euro area: an international comparison," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(20), pages 2533-2544.
    4. Kool, Clemens J. M. & Thornton, Daniel L., 2015. "How Effective Is Central Bank Forward Guidance?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 97(4), pages 303-322.
    5. Benjamin M. Blau & Scott E. Hein & Ryan J. Whitby, 2016. "The Financial Impact Of Lender-Of-Last-Resort Borrowing From The Federal Reserve During The Financial Crisis," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 39(2), pages 179-206, June.
    6. Paul Downward & Andrew Mearman, 2008. "Decision-making at the Bank of England: a critical appraisal," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 385-409, July.
    7. Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "The dual mandate: has the Fed changed its objective?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 117-134.
    8. EllenE. Meade & David Stasavage, 2008. "Publicity of Debate and the Incentive to Dissent: Evidence from the US Federal Reserve," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 695-717, April.
    9. Carin van der Cruijsen & Sylvester Eijffinger, 2007. "The economic impact of central bank transparency: a survey," DNB Working Papers 132, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    10. Peter Howells & Iris Biefang-Frisancho Mariscal, 2003. "Central Bank Transparency: A Market Indicator," Working Papers 0305, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    11. van Holle, Frederiek, 2017. "Essays in empirical finance and monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 30d11a4b-7bc9-4c81-ad24-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    12. Iris Biefang-Frisancho Mariscal & Peter Howells, 2005. "Monetary Policy Transparency and Uncertainty: A Comparison between the Bank of England and the Bundesbank/ECB," Working Papers 0508, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    13. van der Cruijsen, C.A.B., 2008. "The economic impact of central bank transparency," Other publications TiSEM 86c1ba91-1952-45b4-adac-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

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