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Central bank transparency, the accuracy of professional forecasts, and interest rate volatility

  • Menno Middeldorp

Central banks worldwide have become more transparent. An important reason is that democratic societies expect more openness from public institutions. Policymakers also see transparency as a way to improve the predictability of monetary policy, thereby lowering interest rate volatility and contributing to economic stability. Most empirical studies support this view. However, there are three reasons why more research is needed. First, some (mostly theoretical) work suggests that transparency has an adverse effect on predictability. Second, empirical studies have mostly focused on average predictability before and after specific reforms in a small set of advanced economies. Third, less is known about the effect on interest rate volatility. To extend the literature, I use the Dincer and Eichengreen (2007) transparency index for twenty-four economies of varying income and examine the impact of transparency on both predictability and market volatility. I find that higher transparency improves the accuracy of interest rate forecasts for three months ahead and reduces rate volatility.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 496.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:496
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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," DNB Working Papers 170, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  2. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
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  4. Ehrmann, Michael & Eijffinger, Sylvester & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2010. "The role of central bank transparency for guiding private sector forecasts," Working Paper Series 1146, European Central Bank.
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  8. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Geraats, Petra M, 2002. "How Transparent are Central Banks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Clemens Kool & Menno Middeldorp & Stephanie Rosenkranz, 2011. "Central Bank Transparency and the Crowding Out of Private Information in Financial Markets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(4), pages 765-774, 06.
  10. Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob Haan, 2011. "Does central bank communication really lead to better forecasts of policy decisions? New evidence based on a Taylor rule model for the ECB," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 41-58, April.
  11. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "Bond Risk Premia," NBER Working Papers 9178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. N. Nergiz Dincer & Barry Eichengreen, 2007. "Central Bank Transparency: Where, Why, and with What Effects?," NBER Working Papers 13003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jonathan Coppel & Ellis Connolly, 2003. "What Do Financial Market Data Tell Us about Monetary Policy Transparency?," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2003-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  14. John B. Carlson & Ben Craig & Patrick Higgins & William R. Melick, 2006. "FOMC communications and the predictability of near-term policy decisions," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jun.
  15. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin & Hui Tong, 2006. "Social Value of Public Information: Morris and Shin (2002) Is Actually Pro-Transparency, Not Con: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 453-455, March.
  16. van der Cruijsen, C.A.B. & Eijffinger, S.C.W., 2007. "The Economic Impact of Central Bank Transparency : A Survey," Discussion Paper 2007-06, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  17. Mizen, Paul, 2009. "What can we learn from central bankers' words? Some nonparametric tests for the ECB," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 29-32, April.
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  22. Michael Ehrmann & Marcel Fratzscher & Helge Berger, 2006. "Forecasting ECB Monetary Policy; Accuracy is (Still) a Matter of Geography," IMF Working Papers 06/41, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Lars E. O. Svensson, 2006. "Social Value of Public Information: Comment: Morris and Shin (2002) Is Actually Pro-Transparency, Not Con," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 448-452, March.
  24. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2007. "Social value of public information: testing the limits to transparency," Working Paper Series 0821, European Central Bank.
  25. M.H. Middeldorp, 2011. "FOMC Communication Policy and the Accuracy of Fed Funds Futures," Working Papers 11-13, Utrecht School of Economics.
  26. Maria Demertzis & Marco Hoeberichts, 2006. "The Costs of Increasing Transparency," DNB Working Papers 080, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  27. M. Middeldorp & S. Rosenkranz, 2008. "Central bank communication and crowding out of private information in an experimental asset market," Working Papers 08-26, Utrecht School of Economics.
  28. Iris Biefang-Frisancho Mariscal & Peter Howells, 2004. "Monetary Policy Transparency:Lessons from Germany and the Eurozone," Working Papers 0410, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  29. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
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