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Structural Uncertainty and Central Bank Conservatism: The Ignorant Should Keep Their Eyes Shut

  • Rosal, Joao Mauricio
  • Spagat, Michael

We study the problem of a central bank whose policy actions simultaneously affect the information flow about its expectations-augmented Phillips curve and its reputation for toughness in fighting inflation. In an environment with an unknown relationship between inflation surprises and output, big inflation surprises yield big short-term output gains and a strong information flow. Yet optimal policy is very conservative because inflation surprises yield information that increases the volatility of both future inflationary expectations and inflation itself. In fact, the more there is that can be learned about the Phillips curve the less does optimal policy aim towards learning.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3568.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3568
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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," NBER Working Papers 1794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ronald J. Balvers & Thomas F. Cosimano, 1994. "Inflation Variability and Gradualist Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 721-738.
  3. Honkapohja, Seppo & Mitra, Kaushik, 2005. "Performance of monetary policy with internal central bank forecasting," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 627-658, April.
  4. Honkapohja, Seppo & Evans, George W., 2000. "Expectations and the stability problem for optimal monetary policies," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2000,10, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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  7. David Backus & John Driffill, 1984. "Inflation and Reputation," Working Papers 560, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  8. Ellison, Martin & Valla, Natacha, 2001. "Learning, uncertainty and central bank activism in an economy with strategic interactions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 153-171, August.
  9. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  10. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 1993. "Learning, experimentation, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 169-183, August.
  11. Hans Gersbach, 2003. "On the negative social value of central banks' knowledge transparency," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 91-102, 08.
  12. Sanford J. Grossman & Richard E. Kihlstrom & Leonard J. Mirman, 1977. "A Bayesian Approach to the Production of Information and Learning By Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 533-547.
  13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  14. Prescott, Edward C, 1972. "The Multi-Period Control Problem Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1043-58, November.
  15. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1996. "Monetary Policy as a Process of Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 689-702, September.
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