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Talking about monetary policy: the virtues (and vice?) of central bank communication

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  • Alan Blinder

Abstract

Central banks, which used to be so secretive, are communicating more and more these days about their monetary policy. This development has proceeded hand in glove with a burgeoning new scholarly literature on the subject. The empirical evidence, reviewed selectively here, suggests that communication can move financial markets, enhance the predictability of monetary policy decisions, and perhaps even help central banks achieve their goals. A number of theoretical drawbacks to greater communication are also reviewed here. None seems very important in practice. That said, no consensus has yet emerged regarding what constitutes "optimal" communication strategy - either in quantity or nature. This is part of a series of BIS Working Papers (273 to 278) collecting papers presented at the BIS's Seventh Annual Conference on "Whither monetary policy? Monetary policy challenges in the decade ahead" in Luzern, Switzerland, on 26-27 June 2008. The event brought together senior representatives of central banks and academic institutions to exchange views on this topic. BIS Paper 45 contains the opening address of William R White (BIS), the contributions of the policy panel on "Beyond price stability - the challenges ahead" and speeches by Edmund Phelps (Columbia University) and Martin Wolf (Financial Times). The participants in the policy panel discussion chaired by Malcolm D Knight (BIS) were Martin Feldstein (Harvard University), Stanley Fischer (Bank of Israel), Mark Carney (Bank of Canada) and Jean-Pierre Landau (Banque de France). This Working Paper includes comments by Benjamin M Friedman and YV Reddy.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Blinder, 2009. "Talking about monetary policy: the virtues (and vice?) of central bank communication," BIS Working Papers 274, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:274
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob De Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 910-945, December.
    2. Richhild Moessner & William R. Nelson, 2008. "Central Bank Policy Rate Guidance and Financial Market Functioning," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 4(4), pages 193-226, December.
    3. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1986. "Monetary mystique: Secrecy and central banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 63-92, January.
    4. Johnson, David R., 2002. "The effect of inflation targeting on the behavior of expected inflation: evidence from an 11 country panel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1521-1538, November.
    5. Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2007. "Does Inflation Targeting Make a Difference?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Frederic S. Miskin & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Monetary Policy under Inflation Targeting, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 9, pages 291-372 Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Blinder, Alan S., 2007. "Monetary policy by committee: Why and how?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 106-123, March.
    7. Andersson, Malin & Dillen, Hans & Sellin, Peter, 2006. "Monetary policy signaling and movements in the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1815-1855, November.
    8. Rosa, Carlo & Verga, Giovanni, 2007. "On the consistency and effectiveness of central bank communication: Evidence from the ECB," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 146-175, March.
    9. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2009. "Explaining Monetary Policy in Press Conferences," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 5(2), pages 42-84, June.
    10. Michael R. Pakko, 2005. "On the Information Content of Asymmetric FOMC Policy Statements: Evidence From a Taylor-Rule Perspective," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 558-569, July.
    11. Marco Vega & Diego Winkelried, 2005. "Inflation Targeting and Inflation Behavior: A Successful Story?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(3), December.
    12. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2007. "Communication by Central Bank Committee Members: Different Strategies, Same Effectiveness?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 509-541, March.
    13. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2007. "Social value of public information: testing the limits to transparency," Working Paper Series 821, European Central Bank.
    14. Pierre Gosselin & Aileen Lotz & Charles Wyplosz, 2009. "Interest Rate Signals and Central Bank Transparency," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2007, pages 9-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Meade, Ellen E & Sheets, D Nathan, 2005. "Regional Influences on FOMC Voting Patterns," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(4), pages 661-677, August.
    16. Otmar Issing, 2005. "Communication, transparency, accountability: monetary policy in the twenty-first century," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 65-83.
    17. repec:pri:cepsud:161blinder is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Reeves, Rachel & Sawicki, Michael, 2007. "Do financial markets react to Bank of England communication?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 207-227, March.
    19. David Johnson, 2003. "The Effect of Inflation Targets on the Level of Expected Inflation in Five Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1076-1081, November.
    20. Lapp, John S & Pearce, Douglas K, 2000. "Does a Bias in FOMC Policy Directives Help Predict Intermeeting Policy Changes?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 435-441, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ales Bulír & Martin Cihák & David-Jan Jansen, 2011. "Clarity of Central Bank Communication About Inflation," DNB Working Papers 333, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    2. Sylvester Eijffinger & Ronald Mahieu & Louis Raes, 2017. "Can the Fed Talk the Hind Legs Off the Stock Market?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 13(1), pages 53-94, February.
    3. Sirchenko, Andrei, 2010. "Policymakers' Votes and Predictability of Monetary Policy," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt8qj3z3qg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    4. Runchana Pongsaparn & Panda Ketruangroch & Dhanaporn Hirunwong, 2012. "Monetary Policy conduct in Review: The Appropriate Choice of Instruments," Working Papers 2012-05, Monetary Policy Group, Bank of Thailand.
    5. Svensson, Lars E O, 2009. "Transparency under Flexible Inflation Targeting: Experiences and Challenges," CEPR Discussion Papers 7213, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. repec:usg:auswrt:2017:68:01:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Dieter Smeets & Marco Zimmermann, 2013. "Did the EU Summits Succeed in Convincing the Markets during the Recent Crisis?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 1158-1177, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central Bank Communication; Monetary Policy Transparency;

    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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