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Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency

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  • Francesco Bianchi

    () (Department of Economics, Duke University)

  • Leonardo Melosi

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

Abstract

We develop a theoretical framework to quantitatively assess the general equilibrium effects and welfare implications of central bank reputation and transparency. Monetary policy alternates between periods of active inflation stabilization and periods during which the emphasis on inflation stabilization is reduced. When the central bank only engages in short deviations from active monetary policy, inflation expectations remain anchored and the model captures the monetary approach described as constrained discretion. However, if the central bank deviates for a prolonged period of time, agents gradually become pessimistic about future monetary policy, the disanchoring of inflation expectations occurs, and uncertainty rises. Reputation determines the speed with which agents’ pessimism accelerates once the central bank starts deviating. When the model is fitted to U.S. data, we find that the Federal Reserve can accommodate contractionary technology shocks for up to five years before inflation expectations take off. Increasing transparency would improve welfare by anchoring agents’ expectations. Gains from transparency are even more sizeable for countries whose central banks have weak reputation.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi, 2012. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-031, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. FUJIWARA Ippei & WAKI Yuichiro, 2016. "Private News and Monetary Policy: Forward guidance or the expected virtue of ignorance," Discussion papers 16027, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Francesco Bianchi & Cosmin Ilut, 2017. "Monetary/Fiscal Policy Mix and Agent's Beliefs," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 113-139, October.
    3. Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi, 2016. "Modeling The Evolution Of Expectations And Uncertainty In General Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 717-756, May.
    4. Guillaume Bazot & Michael D. Bordo & Eric Monnet, 2014. "The Price of Stability: The balance sheet policy of the Banque de France and the Gold Standard (1880-1914)," NBER Working Papers 20554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:bfr:rueban:2017:48 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Leonardo Melosi, 2014. "Signaling Effects of Monteray Policy," 2014 Meeting Papers 830, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Michael Ehrmann, 2015. "Targeting Inflation from Below: How Do Inflation Expectations Behave?," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(4), pages 213-249, September.
    8. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2016. "First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 1645-1672.
    9. Bianchi, Francesco, 2016. "Methods for measuring expectations and uncertainty in Markov-switching models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 79-99.
    10. repec:oup:restud:v:84:y:2017:i:2:p:853-884. is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi, 2014. "Dormant Shocks and Fiscal Virtue," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-46.
    12. Leonardo Melosi, 2017. "Signalling Effects of Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 853-884.
    13. Bianchi, Francesco, 2016. "Methods for measuring expectations and uncertainty in Markov-switching models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 79-99.
    14. Fujiwara, Ippei & Waki, Yuichiro, 2015. "Private news and monetary policy forward guidance or (the expected virtue of ignorance)," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 238, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    15. K. Istrefi & A. Piloiu, 2016. "Economic policy uncertainty and inflation expectations," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France.
    16. P. Andrade & G. Gaballo & E. Mengus & B. Mojon, 2015. "Forward Guidance and Heterogeneous Beliefs," Working papers 573, Banque de France.
    17. Gaetano Gaballo & Eric Mengus & Benoït Mojon & Philippe Andrade, 2016. "Forward guidance and heterogenous beliefs," 2016 Meeting Papers 1182, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    18. Jobst, Clemens & Bignon, Vincent, 2017. "Economic crises and the eligiblity for the lender of last resort: evidence from 19th century France," Working Paper Series 2027, European Central Bank.
    19. Christian Matthes, 2015. "Figuring Out the Fed—Beliefs about Policymakers and Gains from Transparency," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(1), pages 1-29, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bayesian learning; reputation; uncertainty; in.ation expectations; Markov-switching models; impulse response;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General

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