IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inflation Targeting, Transparency and Interest Rate Volatility: Ditching 'Monetary Mystique' in the UK



Monetary authorities often seem reluctant to discuss the conduct of monetary policy. There is a concern that greater openness in monetary policy-making may lead to volatility in financial markets, and specifically in interest rates. To date there is very little direct empirical evidence; however, recent changes in the monetary policy framework in the UK provide an opportunity to gain some insight on this issue. First, the authors present a model of monetary policy showing that the volatility that would otherwise occur to aggregate prices is transmitted to the rate of interest in a tightly specified nominal regime. Under some circumstances, information flows may add to volatility; if volatility is harmful, then central bankers may be right to be reticent. However, the evidence suggests that even though volatility has risen in the recent past, there is no evidence that this volatility is directly attributable to increased information flows per se.

Suggested Citation

  • Nolan, C. & Chadha, J.S., 1999. "Inflation Targeting, Transparency and Interest Rate Volatility: Ditching 'Monetary Mystique' in the UK," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9921, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:9921

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "The Swedish Experience of an Inflation Target," NBER Working Papers 4985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gerlach, Stefan, 1994. "On the symmetry between inflation and exchange rate targets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 133-137.
    3. King, Mervyn, 1997. "Changes in UK monetary policy: Rules and discretion in practice," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 81-97, June.
    4. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1991. "Target zones and interest rate variability," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 27-54, August.
    5. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1986. "Monetary mystique: Secrecy and central banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 63-92, January.
    6. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2002. "The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 520-539, May.
    7. Pesaran, B & Robinson, G, 1993. "The European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Volatility of the Sterling-Deutschemark Exchange Rate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(421), pages 1418-1431, November.
    8. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1997. "Inflation targeting: lessons from four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 9-110.
    9. Froyen, Richard T. & Waud, Roger N., 1995. "Optimal seigniorage versus interest rate smoothing," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 111-129.
    10. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
    11. Froot, Kenneth A. & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Exchange-rate dynamics under stochastic regime shifts : A unified approach," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 203-229, November.
    12. Michael Woodford, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy inertia," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    13. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "A simplified treatment of the theory of optimal regulation of Brownian motion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 657-673, October.
    14. Andrew Harvey & Esther Ruiz & Neil Shephard, 1994. "Multivariate Stochastic Variance Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 247-264.
    15. Willem H. Buiter, 1999. "Alice in Euroland," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 181-209, June.
    16. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-162, May.
    17. Muscatelli, Anton, 1998. "Optimal Inflation Contracts and Inflation Targets with Uncertain Central Bank Preferences: Accountability through Independence?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 529-542, March.
    18. Paul R. Krugman, 1991. "Target Zones and Exchange Rate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 669-682.
    19. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, January.
    20. Otmar Issing, 1999. "The Eurosystem: Transparent andAccountable or 'Willem in Euroland'," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, September.
    21. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, January.
    22. Bomberger, William A, 1996. "Disagreement as a Measure of Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 381-392, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Monetary regimes; Inflation targeting; Interest rate volatility;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • 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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:9921. 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: (Jake Dyer). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.