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The Fed's Response to Economic News Explains the "Fed Information Effect"

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  • Michael D. Bauer
  • Eric T. Swanson

Abstract

High-frequency changes in interest rates around FOMC announcements are a standard method of measuring monetary policy shocks. However, some recent studies have documented puzzling effects of these shocks on private-sector forecasts of GDP, unemployment, or inflation that are opposite in sign to what standard macroeconomic models would predict. This evidence has been viewed as supportive of a “Fed information effect” channel of monetary policy, whereby an FOMC tightening (easing) communicates that the economy is stronger (weaker) than the public had expected. We show that these empirical results are also consistent with a “Fed response to news” channel, in which incoming, publicly available economic news causes both the Fed to change monetary policy and the private sector to revise its forecasts. We provide substantial new evidence that distinguishes between these two channels and strongly favors the latter; for example, (i) high-frequency stock market responses to Fed announcements, (ii) a new survey that we conduct of individual Blue Chip forecasters, and (iii) regressions that include the previously omitted public macroeconomic data releases all indicate that the Fed and Blue Chip forecasters are simply responding to the same public news, and that there is little if any role for a “Fed information effect".

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Bauer & Eric T. Swanson, 2020. "The Fed's Response to Economic News Explains the "Fed Information Effect"," CESifo Working Paper Series 8151, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8151
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    1. Stefania D'Amico & Mira Farka, 2011. "The Fed and the Stock Market: An Identification Based on Intraday Futures Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 126-137, January.
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    3. Lukas Hoesch & Barbara Rossi & Tatevik Sekhposyan, 2020. "Has the information channel of monetary policy disappeared? Revisiting the empirical evidence," Economics Working Papers 1701, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2021.
    4. 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.
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    6. Gamber, Edward N. & Smith, Julie K., 2009. "Are the Fed's inflation forecasts still superior to the private sector's?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 240-251, June.
    7. Sanford Grossman, 1989. "The Informational Role of Prices," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572141.
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    9. Scott A. Brave & R. Andrew Butters & David Kelley, 2019. "A New “Big Data” Index of U.S. Economic Activity," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue 1, pages 1-30.
    10. Pascal Paul, 2020. "The Time-Varying Effect of Monetary Policy on Asset Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 690-704, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. De Pooter, Michiel & Favara, Giovanni & Modugno, Michele & Wu, Jason, 2021. "Monetary policy uncertainty and monetary policy surprises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
    2. Gürkaynak, Refet S. & Kara, A. Hakan & Kısacıkoğlu, Burçin & Lee, Sang Seok, 2021. "Monetary policy surprises and exchange rate behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    3. De Pooter, Michiel & Favara, Giovanni & Modugno, Michele & Wu, Jason, 2021. "Reprint: Monetary policy uncertainty and monetary policy surprises," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).
    4. Andrew C. Chang & Trace J. Levinson, 2020. "Raiders of the Lost High-Frequency Forecasts: New Data and Evidence on the Efficiency of the Fed's Forecasting," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2020-090, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Dahlhaus, Tatjana & Vasishtha, Garima, 2020. "Monetary policy news in the US: Effects on emerging market capital flows," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    6. Assenmacher, Katrin & Glöckler, Gabriel & Holton, Sarah & Trautmann, Peter & Ioannou, Demosthenes & Mee, Simon & Alonso, Conception & Argiri, Eleni & Arigoni, Filippo & Bakk-Simon, Klára & Bergbauer, , 2021. "Clear, consistent and engaging: ECB monetary policy communication in a changing world," Occasional Paper Series 274, European Central Bank.
    7. Jarociński, Marek, 2020. "Central bank information effects and transatlantic spillovers," Working Paper Series 2482, European Central Bank.
    8. Dahlhaus, Tatjana & Vasishtha, Garima, 2021. "Reprint: Monetary policy news in the US: Effects on emerging market capital flows," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve; forecasts; survey; Blue Chip; Delphic forward guidance;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

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