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What do central banks talk about? A European perspective on central bank communication

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Feldkircher

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Foreign Research Division)

  • Paul Hofmarcher

    (Paris Lodron University of Salzburg)

  • Pierre L. Siklos

    (Wilfried Laurier University and Viessmann Research Centre on Modern Europe)

Abstract

In this paper, we apply a structural topic model (STM) to analyze over 7,000 speeches delivered by European central bankers and ECB staff over the period from 1996 to 2019. Our findings indicate that neither the size of an economy nor its monetary policy regime appear to be related to how frequently a country’s central bank communicates through speeches with the public. We moreover find that the following four topics dominate in central bank speeches: (1) European integration, (2) monetary policy and price stability, (3) financial stability, and (4) “outside the box” content, subsuming rhetoric on issues beyond central banks’ core responsibilities. While coverage of monetary policy topics has been stable over time, European integration has been discussed less in central bank speeches since the early days of the euro and at least up until the Brexit referendum. Speeches on financial stability surged in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. When examining the regional distribution of topic prevalence, we find that speeches given by central bankers from non-euro area countries broadly follow the trends described above. Interestingly, many speeches delivered by central bank staff from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) fall under the “outside the box” category, suggesting that CESEE central banks cover a broader range of topics than the rest of their European counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldkircher & Paul Hofmarcher & Pierre L. Siklos, 2021. "What do central banks talk about? A European perspective on central bank communication," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q2/21, pages 61-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbfi:y:2021:i:q2/21:b:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    communication; central banks; monetary policy; text analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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