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Imperfect Central Bank Communication: Information versus Distraction

Author

Listed:
  • Spencer Dale

    () (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Athanasios Orphanides

    () (Central Bank of Cyprus)

  • Par Osterholm

    () (Uppsala University)

Abstract

Much of the information communicated by central banks is noisy or imperfect. This paper considers the potential benefits and limitations of central bank communications in a model of imperfect knowledge and learning. It is shown that the value of communicating imperfect information is ambiguous. If the public is able to assess accurately the quality of the imperfect information communicated by a central bank, such communication can inform and improve the public’s decisions and expectations. But if not, communicating imperfect communication has the potential to mislead and distract. The risk that imperfect communication may detract from the public’s understanding should be considered in the context of a central bank’s communications strategy. The risk of distraction means the central bank may prefer to focus its communication policies on the information it knows most about. Indeed, conveying more certain information may improve the public’s understanding to the extent that it "crowds out" a role for communicating imperfect information.

Suggested Citation

  • Spencer Dale & Athanasios Orphanides & Par Osterholm, 2008. "Imperfect Central Bank Communication: Information versus Distraction," Working Papers 2008-1, Central Bank of Cyprus.
  • Handle: RePEc:cyb:wpaper:2008-1
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    File URL: http://www.centralbank.gov.cy/media/pdf/NPWPE_No1_022008.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frederic S Mishkin, 2004. "Can Central Bank Transparency Go Too Far?," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Christopher Kent & Simon Guttmann (ed.), The Future of Inflation Targeting Reserve Bank of Australia.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides & John Williams, 2004. "Imperfect Knowledge, Inflation Expectations, and Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters,in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 201-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Winkler, Bernhard, 2000. "Which kind of transparency? On the need for clarity in monetary policy-making," Working Paper Series 0026, European Central Bank.
    4. Sibert, Anne, 2006. "Is Central Bank Transparency Desirable?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central bank communication and policy effectiveness," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 399-474.
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    7. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2007:i:jul10 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. van der Cruijsen, Carin A.B. & Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Hoogduin, Lex H., 2010. "Optimal central bank transparency," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1482-1507, December.
    2. Aoki, Kosuke & Kimura, Takeshi, 2008. "Central bank's two-way communication with the public and inflation dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25483, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Ahrens, Steffen & Lustenhouwer, Joep & Tettamanzi, Michele, 2017. "The Stabilizing Role of Forward Guidance: A Macro Experiment," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168063, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Salle, Isabelle & Yıldızoğlu, Murat & Sénégas, Marc-Alexandre, 2013. "Inflation targeting in a learning economy: An ABM perspective," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 114-128.
    5. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2013. "Dispersed communication by central bank committees and the predictability of monetary policy decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 223-244, October.
    6. Svensson, Lars E O, 2009. "Transparency under Flexible Inflation Targeting: Experiences and Challenges," CEPR Discussion Papers 7213, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Pierre L. Siklos, 2013. "The Global Financial Crisis and the Language of Central Banking: Central Bank Guidance in Good Times and in Bad," CAMA Working Papers 2013-58, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    8. Meredith Beechey & Pär Österholm, 2014. "Policy interest-rate expectations in Sweden: a forecast evaluation," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(14), pages 984-991, September.
    9. Rhee, Hyuk Jae & Turdaliev, Nurlan, 2013. "Central bank transparency: Does it matter?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 183-197.
    10. Martin Cihak & Katerina Smídková & Ales Bulir, 2008. "Writing Clearly; ECB’s Monetary Policy Communication," IMF Working Papers 08/252, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Horváth, Roman & Jonášová, Júlia, 2015. "Central banks' voting records, the financial crisis and future monetary policy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 229-243.
    12. Jan-Erik Antipin & Farid Jimmy Boumediene & Pär Österholm, 2014. "Forecasting Inflation Using Constant Gain Least Squares," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1-2), pages 2-15, June.
    13. van Holle, Frederiek, 2017. "Essays in empirical finance and monetary policy," Other publications TiSEM 30d11a4b-7bc9-4c81-ad24-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Ma, Yong & Li, Shushu, 2015. "Bayesian estimation of China's monetary policy transparency: A New Keynesian approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 236-248.
    15. Donato Masciandaro & Davide Romelli, 2016. "From Silence to Voice: Monetary Policy, Central Bank Governance and Communication," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1627, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    16. Horváth, Roman & Vaško, Dan, 2016. "Central bank transparency and financial stability," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 45-56.
    17. van der Cruijsen, C.A.B., 2008. "The economic impact of central bank transparency," Other publications TiSEM 86c1ba91-1952-45b4-adac-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Transparency; forecasts; learning;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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