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Central bank communications: a case study

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  • J. Scott Davis
  • Mark A. Wynne

Abstract

Over the past twenty five years, central bank communications have undergone a major revolution. Central banks that previously shrouded themselves in mystery now embrace social media to get their message out to the widest audience. The Federal Reserve System has not always been at the forefront of these changes, but the volume of information about monetary policy that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) now releases dwarfs what it was releasing a quarter century ago. In this paper we focus on just one channel of FOMC communications, the post-meeting statement. We document how it has evolved over time, and in particular the extent to which it has become more detailed, but also more difficult to understand. We then use a VAR with daily financial market data to estimate a daily time series of U.S. monetary policy shocks. We show how these shocks on Fed statement release days have gotten larger as the statement has gotten longer and more detailed, and we show that the length and complexity of the statement has a direct effect on the size of the monetary policy shock following a Fed decision.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Scott Davis & Mark A. Wynne, 2016. "Central bank communications: a case study," Globalization Institute Working Papers 283, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddgw:283
    DOI: 10.24149/gwp283
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    File URL: http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/institute/wpapers/2016/0283.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan S. Blinder & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Jakob De Haan & David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Central Bank Communication and Monetary Policy: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 910-945, December.
    2. Jeffery D. Amato & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Communication and Monetary Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 495-503.
    3. Goodfriend, Marvin, 1986. "Monetary mystique: Secrecy and central banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 63-92, January.
    4. Michelle T. Armesto & Rub…N Hern¡Ndez-Murillo & Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy Piger, 2009. "Measuring the Information Content of the Beige Book: A Mixed Data Sampling Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(1), pages 35-55, February.
    5. Helge Berger & Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher, 2011. "Monetary Policy in the Media," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(4), pages 689-709, June.
    6. repec:pri:cepsud:161blinder is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Myatt, David P. & Wallace, Chris, 2014. "Central bank communication design in a Lucas-Phelps economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 64-79.
    8. Guthrie, Graeme & Wright, Julian, 2000. "Open mouth operations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 489-516, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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