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When Can Central Banks Anchor Expectations? Policy communication and controllability

  • Acocella, Nicola
  • Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni
  • Hughes Hallett, Andrew

Rational expectations are often used as a strong argument against policy activism, as they may undermine or neutralize the policymaker’s actions. Although this sometimes happens, rational expectations do not always imply policy invariance or ineffectiveness. In fact, in certain circumstances rational expectations can enhance our power to control an economy over time. In those cases, policy announcements, properly communicated, can be used to extend the impact of conventional policy instruments. In this paper we present a general forward-looking policy framework and use it to provide a formal justification for attempting to anchor expectations, and as a possible justification for publishing interest rate forecasts or tax rate projections. This approach allows us to test when policymakers can and cannot expect to be able to manage expectations.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7078.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7078
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  1. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2005. "How should central banks communicate?," Working Paper Series 0557, European Central Bank.
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  8. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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  10. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Rules and Discretion with Noncoordinated Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 619-30, October.
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  12. Glenn D. Rudebusch & John C. Williams, 2008. "Revealing the Secrets of the Temple: The Value of Publishing Central Bank Interest Rate Projections," NBER Chapters, in: Asset Prices and Monetary Policy, pages 247-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
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  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521264440 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Libich, Jan, 2009. "A Note On The Anchoring Effect Of Explicit Inflation Targets," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 685-697, November.
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  21. Hughes Hallett Andrew & Di Bartolomeo Giovanni & Acocella Nicola, 2008. "Controllability under rational expectations," wp.comunite 0042, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
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