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Imperfect Transparency and Shifts in the Central Bank's Output Gap Target

In the New Keynesian framework, the public's expectation about the future path of monetary policy is an important determinant of current economic conditions. This paper examines the impact of unobservable shifts in the central bank's output gap target on inflation and output dynamics. I show that when the degree of persistence of a shock is private information of the central bank, and policy is discretionary in nature, it is optimal for the central bank not to reveal the future expected path of the output gap target. Perfect transparency unambiguously increases inflation and output volatility and thus lowers welfare.

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File URL: http://econ.hunter.cuny.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/RePEc/papers/HunterEconWP415.pdf
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Paper provided by Hunter College Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College with number 415.

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Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision: 2008
Handle: RePEc:htr:hcecon:415
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  1. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy rules based on real-time data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Faust, John, 1998. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," Seminar Papers 636, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  3. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2003. "Indicator variables for optimal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 691-720, April.
  4. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
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  8. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  9. Frederic S. Mishkin & Niklas J. Westelius, 2008. "Inflation Band Targeting and Optimal Inflation Contracts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(4), pages 557-582, 06.
  10. Lars E.O. Svensson, 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, `Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," NBER Working Papers 5251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Dotsey, Michael & Hornstein, Andreas, 2003. "Should a monetary policymaker look at money?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 547-579, April.
  12. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 1999. "The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2195, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Alex Cukierman, 2002. "Are contemporary central banks transparent about economic models and objectives and what difference does it make?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 15-36.
  14. Michael Woodford, 2004. "Inflation targeting and optimal monetary policy," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 15-42.
  15. Aoki, Kosuke, 2002. "Optimal Commitment Policy Under Noisy Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 3370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Seth B. Carpenter, 2004. "Transparency and monetary policy: what does the academic literature tell policymakers?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, 2000. "Timeless Perspectives vs. Discretionary Monetary Policy In Forward-Looking Models," NBER Working Papers 7915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Petra M. Geraats, 2007. "The Mystique of Central Bank Speak," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 3(1), pages 37-80, March.
  20. Niklas J. Westelius, 2005. "Discretionary Monetary Policy and Inflation Persistence," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 424, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  21. Athanasios Orphanides & Richard D. Porter & David L. Reifschneider & Robert J. Tetlow & Frederico Finan, 1999. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2001. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy under Asymmetric Information," Seminar Papers 689, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  23. Charles Goodhart, 2005. "The interest rate conditioning assumption," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24666, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  24. Geraats, P.M., 2004. "Transparency and Reputation: The Publication of Central Bank Forecasts," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0473, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  25. 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.
  26. Andrew Blake, 2001. "A Timeless Perspective on Optimality in Forward-Looking Rational Expectations Models," NIESR Discussion Papers 188, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  27. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  28. Julio Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1997. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 297-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
  30. Walsh, Carl E, 2003. " Accountability, Transparency, and Inflation Targeting," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 829-49, October.
  31. Charles Goodhart, 2005. "The Interest Rate Conditioning Assumption," FMG Discussion Papers dp547, Financial Markets Group.
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