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Federal Reserve transparency and financial market forecasts of short-term interest rates

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  • Eric T. Swanson

Abstract

The 1990s and early 2000s witnessed an unprecedented increase in central bank transparency around the world, yet there has been little empirical work that convincingly demonstrates any economic benefits of increased central bank transparency. This paper shows that, since the late 1980s, U.S, financial markets and private sector forecasters have become: 1) better able to forecast the federal funds rate at horizons out to several months, 2) less surprised by Federal Reserve announcements, 3) more certain of their interest rate forecasts ex ante, as measured by interest rate options, and 4) less diverse in the cross-sectional variety of their interest rate forecasts. We also show that increases in Federal Reserve transparency are likely to have played a role: for example, private sector forecasts of GDP and inflation have not experienced similar improvements over the same period, indicating that the improvement in interest rate forecasts has been special.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric T. Swanson, 2004. "Federal Reserve transparency and financial market forecasts of short-term interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Demertzis, Maria & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 2007. "Central Bank transparency in theory and practice," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 760-789, December.
    2. William Poole, 1999. "Monetary policy rules?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 3-12.
    3. Jon Faust & John H. Rogers & Eric Swanson & Jonathan H. Wright, 2003. "Identifying the Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks on Exchange Rates Using High Frequency Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1031-1057, September.
    4. Faust, Jon & Swanson, Eric T. & Wright, Jonathan H., 2004. "Identifying VARS based on high frequency futures data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1107-1131, September.
    5. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
    6. Laurence M. Ball & Niamh Sheridan, 2004. "Does Inflation Targeting Matter?," NBER Chapters,in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 249-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
    8. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
    9. William Poole & Robert Rasche, 2000. "Perfecting the Market's Knowledge of Monetary Policy," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 18(2), pages 255-298, December.
    10. Frederic S. Mishkin & Adam S. Posen, 1997. "Inflation targeting: lessons from four countries," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Aug, pages 9-110.
    11. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, July.
    12. Lange, Joe & Sack, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2003. " Anticipations of Monetary Policy in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(6), pages 889-909, December.
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    Keywords

    Monetary policy ; Transparency in government;

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