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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 Eliot Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2013. "Estimating Bayesian decision problems with heterogeneous priors," Economics Working Papers 1357, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. 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.).
  3. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2011. "How Experts Decide: Identifying Preferences versus Signals from Policy Decisions," CEP Discussion Papers dp1063, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1994. "Weak and strong merging of opinions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 73-86, January.
  5. David Backus & John Driffill, 1984. "Inflation and Reputation," Working Papers 560, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Francesco Bianchi, 2014. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," 2014 Meeting Papers 424, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Timothy Besley & Neil Meads & Paolo Surico, 2008. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policymaking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 218-23, May.
  8. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Mahieu, Ronald J & Raes, Louis, 2013. "Inferring hawks and doves from voting records," CEPR Discussion Papers 9418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. Sibert, Anne, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2008. "Delayed doves: MPC voting behaviour of externals," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19611, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  18. 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.
  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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