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Enhancing central bank communications using simple and relatable information

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  • Bholat, David
  • Broughton, Nida
  • Ter Meer, Janna
  • Walczak, Eryk

Abstract

Central bankers and the central banking literature are increasingly attuned to the importance of communications as a policy tool. However, less is known about how central bank communications should be drafted for maximal impact. Our paper contributes new insights in this regard. Using a large-scale online experiment with a sample representative of the UK population, the paper documents the communicative techniques that increase public comprehension and trust in monetary and macroeconomic policy messages. Key findings include that the simplification of language increases public comprehension more than the inclusion of visuals, and that public comprehension can be improved by making monetary policy messages relatable to people's lives. Relatable content also increases the public's trust in central bank communications, and improves people's perceptions of the central bank. Our findings shed light on how central banks can improve communication with the public at a time when trust in public institutions has fallen, while the responsibilities delegated to central banks have increased.

Suggested Citation

  • Bholat, David & Broughton, Nida & Ter Meer, Janna & Walczak, Eryk, 2019. "Enhancing central bank communications using simple and relatable information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 1-15.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:108:y:2019:i:c:p:1-15
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoneco.2019.08.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Beatriz Galvão & James Mitchell & Johnny Runge, 2019. "Communicating Data Uncertainty: Experimental Evidence for U.K. GDP," Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) Discussion Papers ESCoE DP-2019-20, Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE).
    2. Fatemeh Mokhtarzadeh & Luba Petersen, 2021. "Coordinating expectations through central bank projections," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(3), pages 883-918, September.
    3. Weber, Michael & D’Acunto, Francesco & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Coibion, Olivier, 2022. "The Subjective Inflation Expectations of Households and Firms: Measurement, Determinants, and Implications," IZA Discussion Papers 15391, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Ehrmann, Michael & Holton, Sarah & Kedan, Danielle & Phelan, Gillian, 2021. "Monetary policy communication: perspectives from former policy makers at the ECB," Working Paper Series 2627, European Central Bank.
    5. Beutel, Johannes & Metiu, Norbert & Stockerl, Valentin, 2021. "Toothless tiger with claws? Financial stability communication, expectations, and risk-taking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 53-69.
    6. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Jakob de Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2022. "Central Bank Communication with the General Public: Promise or False Hope?," Working Papers 291, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    7. Ehrmann, Michael & Wabitsch, Alena, 2022. "Central bank communication with non-experts – A road to nowhere?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 69-85.
    8. Munday, Tim & Brookes, James, 2021. "Mark my words: the transmission of central bank communication to the general public via the print media," Bank of England working papers 944, Bank of England.
    9. Candia, Bernardo & Coibion, Olivier & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy, 2021. "The Inflation Expectations of U.S. Firms: Evidence from a New Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 14378, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Gaganis, Chrysovalantis & Pasiouras, Fotios & Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2021. "Allocating supervisory responsibilities to central bankers: Does national culture matter?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    11. Bernardo Candia & Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2020. "Communication and the Beliefs of Economic Agents," NBER Working Papers 27800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Georgarakos, Dimitris & Kenny, Geoff, 2022. "Household spending and fiscal support during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights from a new consumer survey," Working Paper Series 2643, European Central Bank.
    13. Fraccaroli, Nicolò & Giovannini, Alessandro & Jamet, Jean-Francois, 2020. "Central banks in parliaments: a text analysis of the parliamentary hearings of the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve," Working Paper Series 2442, European Central Bank.
    14. Kryvtsov, Oleksiy & Petersen, Luba, 2021. "Central bank communication that works: Lessons from lab experiments," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 760-780.
    15. Ferrara, Federico Maria & Angino, Siria, 2021. "Does clarity make central banks more engaging? Lessons from ECB communications," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 112968, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Joan Huang & John Simon, 2021. "Central Bank Communication: One Size Does Not Fit All," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2021-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    17. Baranowski, Paweł & Doryń, Wirginia & Łyziak, Tomasz & Stanisławska, Ewa, 2021. "Words and deeds in managing expectations: Empirical evidence from an inflation targeting economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 49-67.
    18. John Duffy, 2022. "Why macroeconomics needs experimental evidence," The Japanese Economic Review, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 5-29, January.
    19. Angino, Siria & Secola, Stefania, 2022. "Instinctive versus reflective trust in the European Central Bank," Working Paper Series 2660, European Central Bank.
    20. Assenmacher, Katrin & Glöckler, Gabriel & Holton, Sarah & Trautmann, Peter & Ioannou, Demosthenes & Mee, Simon & Alonso, Conception & Argiri, Eleni & Arigoni, Filippo & Bakk-Simon, Klára & Bergbauer, , 2021. "Clear, consistent and engaging: ECB monetary policy communication in a changing world," Occasional Paper Series 274, European Central Bank.
    21. Michael J. Lamla & Dmitri V. Vinogradov, 2021. "Is the Word of a Gentleman as Good as His Tweet? Policy communications of the Bank of England," Working Paper Series in Economics 403, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central bank communications; Central bank legitimacy; Macroeconomic and monetary policy experiments; Behavioural economics; Bank of England;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A29 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Other
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E70 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • G41 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making in Financial Markets
    • M38 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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