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First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics

  • Hansen, Stephen
  • McMahon, Michael

We provide the first direct empirical support for the relevance of signalling in monetary policy. In our dynamic model, central bankers make policy under uncertain inflationary conditions and place different weights on output fluctuations. Signalling leads all bankers to be tougher on inflation initially, but to become less tough with experience. This evolution is more pronounced for members who weight output more ("doves"), which provides an additional test of our model. We structurally estimate the model using Bank of England data and confirm both predictions. Signalling increases the probability new members vote for high interest rates by up to 35%.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9607.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9607
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  1. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2013. "Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Priors," CAMA Working Papers 2013-18, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-55, November.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2004. "The decline of activist stabilization policy: natural rate misperceptions, learning, and expectations," International Finance Discussion Papers 804, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Francesco Bianchi, 2014. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," 2014 Meeting Papers 424, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Meads, Neil & Surico, Paolo, 2007. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policy-Making," Discussion Papers 20, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  6. 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.
  7. James Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2003. "Did the Great Inflation Occur Despite Policymaker Commitment to a Taylor Rule?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 129, Society for Computational Economics.
  8. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policy-Makers' Beliefs and U. S. Postwar Stabilization Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 867-901.
  9. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-38, June.
  10. Stephen Hansen & Michael F. McMahon, 2008. "Delayed Doves: MPC Voting Behaviour of Externals," CEP Discussion Papers dp0862, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Anne Sibert, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CESifo Working Paper Series 226, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2011. "How Experts Decide: Identifying Preferences versus Signals from Policy Decisions," CEP Discussion Papers dp1063, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. 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.
  14. Matias Iaryczower & Matthew Shum, 2012. "The Value of Information in the Court: Get It Right, Keep It Tight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 202-37, February.
  15. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1994. "Weak and strong merging of opinions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 73-86, January.
  16. Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Mahieu, R.J. & Raes, L.B.D., 2013. "Inferring Hawks and Doves from Voting Records," Discussion Paper 2013-024, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  17. Hansen, Stephen & McMahon, Michael & Velasco Rivera, Carlos, 2014. "Preferences or private assessments on a monetary policy committee?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 16-32.
  18. Clare Leaver, 2009. "Bureaucratic Minimal Squawk Behavior: Theory and Evidence from Regulatory Agencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 572-607, June.
  19. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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