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Actual versus Perceived Transparency: The Case of the European Central Bank

  • Carin van der Cruijsen
  • Sylvester Eijffinger

Central banks have become more and more transparent about their monetary policy making process. In the central bank transparency literature the distinction between actual and perceived transparency is often lacking. However, as perceptions are crucial for the actions of economic agents this distinction matters. We investigate the mismatch between actual and perceived transparency and its relevance by analyzing data of a Dutch household survey on the European Central Bank's transparency. A discrepancy between actual and perceived transparency exists because of incomplete and incorrect transparency knowledge and other (psychological) factors. We find that respondents with relatively high transparency perceptions are more likely to have more trust in the ECB and better alligned inflation perceptions and expectations. Therefore, it might be beneficial for a central bank to increase transparency perceptions, either by improving its actual disclosure practices or by focusing on its transparency strengths in its communicationpolicy.

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 163.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:163
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Web page: http://www.dnb.nl/en/

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  1. C�line Christensen & Peter van Els & Maarten van Rooij, 2006. "Dutch households' perceptions of economic growth and inflation," DNB Working Papers 093, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
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  12. Jakob de Haan & Sylvester C. W. Eijffinger & Sandra Waller, 2005. "The European Central Bank: Credibility, Transparency, and Centralization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042266, June.
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  16. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
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