IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A model of market surprises

  • Lavan Mahadeva

This paper presents a theory to link improvements in transparency about monetary policy objectives to improvements in transparency about monetary policy actions and then to the conditional volatility of market expectations of policy rates. Crucially, policy announcements act not just as an instrument but also as a beacon that can potentially communicate information to agents about the policymakers’ reactions to shocks. When the objectives of policymakers are not made transparent, agents are more likely to interpret any accommodation to price shocks as indicating that policymakers are following their own unobserved suboptimal objectives. Policymakers in these regimes are therefore less inclined to be transparent in their explanations. Conversely when policy objectives are more clearly defined, policymakers become more transparent in their explanations too. Then, the less markets will be surprised by interest rate announcements. I show that happens at a diminishing rate: as transparency is improved further from already high levels, there is less of a reduction in the variance of market surprises. The reason is that agents know that they can rely more on the monetary policy beacon in very transparent regimes. Hence they become more active in their decision-making and policymakers take that extra sensitivity into account. The model illustrates the gains to having clearly defined policy objectives. It also explains how a continued occurrence of market surprises, after an initial large reduction, could be consistent with the greater transparency and more precisely formed inflation expectations.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 327.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:327
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Group Bank of England Threadneedle Street London EC2R 8AH
Phone: +44 (0)171 601 4030
Fax: +44 (0)171 601 5196
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hyun Song Shin & Jeffery D. Amato, 2003. "Public and private information in monetary policy models," BIS Working Papers 138, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central bank communication and policy effectiveness," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 399-474.
  3. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  4. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Monetary Policy in the Information Economy," NBER Working Papers 8674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ellingsen, Tore & Söderström, Ulf, 2004. "Why are Long Rates Sensitive to Monetary Policy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4360, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
  7. Jon Faust & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "The equilibrium degree of transparency and control in monetary policy," International Finance Discussion Papers 651, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Linda Goldberg & Deborah Leonard, 2003. "What moves sovereign bond markets? The effects of economic news on U.S. and German yields," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Sep).
  9. Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 1999. "Learning dynamics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 449-542 Elsevier.
  10. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2001. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 369-97, May.
  11. Luca Benati, 2004. "Evolving post-World War II UK economic performance," Bank of England working papers 232, Bank of England.
  12. Winkler, Bernhard, 2000. "Which kind of transparency? On the need for clarity in monetary policy-making," Working Paper Series 0026, European Central Bank.
  13. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
  14. Pierre L. Siklos, 2003. "Assessing the Impact of Changes in Transparency and Accountability at the Bank of Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(3), pages 279-299, September.
  15. Chadha, Jagjit S. & Nolan, Charles, 2001. "Inflation Targeting, Transparency and Interest Rate Volatility: Ditching Monetary Mystique in the U.K," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 349-366, July.
  16. Nicolas Parent, 2003. "Transparency and the Response of Interest Rates to the Publication of Macroeconomic Data," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2002(Winter), pages 29-34.
  17. Donald L. Kohn & Brian P. Sack, 2003. "Central bank talk: does it matter and why?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Tore Ellingsen & Ulf Soderstrom, 2001. "Monetary Policy and Market Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1594-1607, December.
  19. Clare Lombardelli & James Proudman & James Talbot, 2005. "Committees Versus Individuals: An Experimental Analysis of Monetary Policy Decision-Making," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(1), May.
  20. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2003. "The excess sensitivity of long-term interest rates: evidence and implications for macroeconomic models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Ben S. Bernanke & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2004. "What Explains the Stock Market's Reaction to Federal Reserve Policy?," NBER Working Papers 10402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2003. "Monetary policy and learning," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q3, pages 11-16.
  23. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2001. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy under Asymmetric Information," Seminar Papers 689, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  24. Jeffery Amato & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2003. "Communication and Monetary Policy," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000330, David K. Levine.
  25. 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.
  26. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  27. Bean, Charles, 1998. "The New UK Monetary Arrangements: A View from the Literature," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1795-1809, November.
  28. Lange, Joe & Sack, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2003. " Anticipations of Monetary Policy in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 889-909, December.
  29. Edward Kutsoati & Sharun Mukand, 2004. "Expectations and the Central Banker: Making Decisions the Market Expects to See? [revised]," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0418, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  30. Gabriel Pérez Quirós & Jorge Sicilia, 2002. "Is the European Central Bank (and the United States Federal Reserve) predictable?," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0229, Banco de Espa�a.
  31. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-70, December.
  32. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  33. Peter Lildholdt & Anne Vila Wetherilt, 2004. "Anticipation of monetary policy in UK financial markets," Bank of England working papers 241, Bank of England.
  34. Jonathan Coppel & Ellis Connolly, 2003. "What Do Financial Market Data Tell Us about Monetary Policy Transparency?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2003-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  35. Kozicki, Sharon & Tinsley, P. A., 2003. "Permanent and transitory policy shocks in an empirical macro model with asymmetric information," CFS Working Paper Series 2003/41, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  36. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2004. "Is the MPC's Voting Record Informative about Future UK Monetary Policy?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(2), pages 299-313, 06.
  37. Ana Lasaosa, 2005. "Learning the rules of the new game? Comparing the reactions in financial markets to announcements before and after the Bank of England's operational independence," Bank of England working papers 255, Bank of England.
  38. Ravenna, Federico & Walsh, Carl E., 2006. "Optimal monetary policy with the cost channel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 199-216, March.
  39. Clark, Peter B. & Goodhart, Charles A. E. & Huang, Haizhou, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy rules in a rational expectations model of the Phillips curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 497-520, April.
  40. 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.
  41. Andrew G Haldane & Vicky Read, 2000. "Monetary policy surprises and the yield curve," Bank of England working papers 106, Bank of England.
  42. Faust Jon & Swanson Eric T & Wright Jonathan H, 2004. "Do Federal Reserve Policy Surprises Reveal Superior Information about the Economy?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-31, October.
  43. Pearlman, Joseph G., 1992. "Reputational and nonreputational policies under partial information," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 339-357, April.
  44. Eric T. Swanson, 2004. "Federal Reserve transparency and financial market forecasts of short-term interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  45. Andrew Clare & Roger Courtenay, 2001. "Assessing the impact of macroeconomic news announcements on securities prices under different monetary policy regimes," Bank of England working papers 125, Bank of England.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:327. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Publications Team)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.