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How Experts Decide: Identifying Preferences versus Signals from Policy Decisions

  • Stephen Hansen
  • Michael McMahon

A large theoretical literature assumes that experts di ffer in terms of preferences and the distribution of their private signals, but the empirical literature to date has not separately identi ed them. This paper proposes a novel way of doing so by relating the probability a member chooses a particular policy decision to the prior belief that it is correct. We then apply this methodology to study diff erences between internal and external members on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. Using a variety of proxies for the prior, we provide evidence that they di ffer significantly on both dimensions.

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1063.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1063.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1063
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. EllenE. Meade & David Stasavage, 2008. "Publicity of Debate and the Incentive to Dissent: Evidence from the US Federal Reserve," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 695-717, 04.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Meads, Neil & Surico, Paolo, 2007. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policy-Making," Discussion Papers 20, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  3. Alessandro Riboni & Francisco J. Ruge-Murcia, 2010. "Monetary Policy by Committee: Consensus, Chairman Dominance, or Simple Majority?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 363-416, February.
  4. Harris, Mark & Spencer, Christopher, 2008. "Decade of dissent: explaining the dissent voting behavior of Bank of England MPC members," MPRA Paper 9100, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
  6. Bhattacharjee, A. & Holly, S., 2005. "Inflation Targeting, Committee Decision Making and Uncertainty: The case of the Bank of England’s MPC," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0530, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Christopher Spencer, 2006. "The Dissent Voting Behaviour of Bank of England MPC Members," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0306, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  8. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
  9. Petra Gerlach-Kristen, 2009. "Outsiders at the Bank of England's MPC," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1099-1115, 09.
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