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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. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2003. "Expectations and the Stability Problem for Optimal Monetary Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 807-824.
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  5. Hans Gersbach, 2003. "On the negative social value of central banks' knowledge transparency," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 91-102, 08.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
  7. Honkapohja, Seppo & Mitra, Kaushik, 2002. "Performance of monetary policy with internal central bank forecasting," Research Discussion Papers 3/2002, Bank of Finland.
  8. Volker Wieland, 1999. "Monetary policy, parameter uncertainty and optimal learning," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-48, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Jensen, Henrik, 2002. " Optimal Degrees of Transparency in Monetary Policymaking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(3), pages 399-422, September.
  10. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 1993. "Learning, experimentation, and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 169-183, August.
  11. Ellison, Martin & Valla, Natacha, 2000. "Learning, uncertainty and central bank activism in an economy with strategic interactions," Working Paper Series 0028, European Central Bank.
  12. Balvers, Ronald J & Cosimano, Thomas F, 1994. "Inflation Variability and Gradualist Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 721-38, October.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
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