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Purdah-On the Rationale for Central Bank Silence around Policy Meetings


Many central banks share the practice of "purdah", a guideline of abstaining from communication around policy meetings. Although seemingly contradicting the virtue of transparency by withholding information precisely when it is sought after intensely, it has been justified on grounds that such communication may create excessive market volatility. This paper assesses the purdah for the Federal Reserve and confirms that financial markets are substantially more sensitive to central bank communication around policy meetings. Short-term interest rates react three to four times more strongly in the purdah before Federal Open Market Committee meetings than otherwise, and volatility increases (compared to a reduction otherwise). Copyright (c) 2009 The Ohio State University.

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 41 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (03)
Pages: 517-528

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:41:y:2009:i:2-3:p:517-528
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  1. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central Bank Communication and Policy Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 11898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jeffery D. Amato & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Communication and Monetary Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 495-503.
  3. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
  4. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2007. "Transparency, Disclosure, and the Federal Reserve," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(1), pages 179-225, March.
  5. Glenn D. Rudebusch & John C. Williams, 2006. "Revealing the secrets of the temple: the value of publishing central bank interest rate projections," Working Paper Series 2006-31, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Refet Gurkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," Macroeconomics 0504013, EconWPA.
  7. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  8. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2004. "Can Central Bank Transparency Go Too Far?," NBER Working Papers 10829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "How should central banks communicate?," Working Paper Series 0557, European Central Bank.
  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. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "Communication and decision-making by central bank committees: different strategies, same effectiveness?," Working Paper Series 0488, European Central Bank.
  12. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Guthrie, Graeme & Wright, Julian, 2000. "Open mouth operations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 489-516, October.
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