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Monetary Policy Surprises and Interest Rates: Choosing between the Inflation-Revelation and Excess Sensitivity Hypotheses

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  • Willem Thorbecke

    () (George Mason University, and Senior Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, 1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan)

  • Hanjiang Zhang

    () (Department of Finance, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station B6000, Austin, TX 78712 USA)

Abstract

Romer and Romer (2000) reported that federal funds rate increases may raise expected inflation by revealing the Federal Reserve’s private information about inflation. Gurkaynak, Sack, and Swanson (2005a) presented evidence that funds rate increases lowered long-term expected inflation. To choose between these hypotheses, we examine how monetary policy surprises affect daily traded commodity prices, term interest rates, and forward interest rates. We find that funds rate increases in the 1970s raised gold and silver prices and that increases after 1989 lowered gold and silver prices. We also find that funds rate hikes over both sample periods primarily affected short-term interest rates and near-term forward rates. For the 1970s, these results suggest that Romer and Romer’s explanation is correct. For recent years, they indicate that funds rate increases affect real rates and may also be consistent with the findings of Gu¨rkaynak, Sack, and Swanson.

Suggested Citation

  • Willem Thorbecke & Hanjiang Zhang, 2009. "Monetary Policy Surprises and Interest Rates: Choosing between the Inflation-Revelation and Excess Sensitivity Hypotheses," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1114-1122, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:4:y:2009:p:1114-1122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Y. Campbell, 1995. "Some Lessons from the Yield Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 129-152, Summer.
    2. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
    3. Hardouvelis, Gikas A & Barnhart, Scott W, 1989. "The Evolution of Federal Reserve Credibility: 1978-1984," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 385-393, August.
    4. Refet S Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy Actions and Statements," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
    5. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2008. "The Effect of Monetary Policy on Real Commodity Prices," NBER Chapters,in: Asset Prices and Monetary Policy, pages 291-333 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Ben S. Bernanke & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1997. "Inflation Targeting: A New Framework for Monetary Policy?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 97-116, Spring.
    8. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. Swanson, 2003. "The excess sensitivity of long-term interest rates: evidence and implications for macroeconomic models," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    9. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1985. "Commodity Prices, Money Surprises and Fed Credibility," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 17(4), pages 425-438, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Willem THORBECKE, 2017. "The Effect of the Fed's Large-scale Asset Purchases on Inflation Expectations," Discussion papers 17097, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. David Beckworth & Kenneth P. Moon & J. Holland Toles, 2012. "Can Monetary Policy Influence Long-Term Interest Rates? It Depends," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(4), pages 1080-1096, October.
    3. repec:eee:finana:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:292-308 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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