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The FOMC versus the Staff: Where Can Monetary Policymakers Add Value?

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  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

Abstract

Should monetary policymakers take the staff forecast of the effects of policy actions as given, or should they attempt to include additional information? This paper seeks to shed light on this question by testing the usefulness of the FOMC's own forecasts. Twice a year, the FOMC makes forecasts of major macroeconomic variables. FOMC members have access to the staff forecasts when they prepare their forecasts. We find that the optimal combination of the FOMC and staff forecasts in predicting inflation and unemployment puts a weight of essentially zero on the FOMC forecast and essentially one on the staff forecast: the FOMC appears to have no value added in forecasting. The results for predicting real growth are less clear-cut. We also find statistical and narrative evidence that differences between the FOMC and staff forecasts help predict monetary policy shocks, suggesting that policymakers act in part on the basis of their apparently misguided information.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2008. "The FOMC versus the Staff: Where Can Monetary Policymakers Add Value?," NBER Working Papers 13751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13751
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    1. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "A New Measure of Monetary Shocks: Derivation and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1055-1084, September.
    2. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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