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First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics

Listed author(s):
  • Michael McMahon

    (University of Warwick)

  • Stephen Hansen

    (Pompeu Fabra)

We first establish that policymakers on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee choose lower interest rates with experience. We then reject increasing confidence in private information or learning about the structure of the macroeconomy as explanations for this shift. Instead, a model in which voters signal their hawkishness to observers better fits the data. The motivation for signalling is consistent with wanting to control inflation expectations, but not career concerns or pleasing colleagues. There is also no evidence of capture by industry. The paper suggests that policy-motivated reputation building may be important for explaining dynamics in experts' policy choices.

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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_1163.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 1163.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:1163
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Clare Leaver, 2009. "Bureaucratic Minimal Squawk Behavior: Theory and Evidence from Regulatory Agencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 572-607, June.
  2. James B. Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2004. "Did the Great Inflation occur despite policymaker commitment to a Taylor rule?," Working Papers 2003-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2004. "The decline of activist stabilization policy: natural rate misperceptions, learning, and expectations," International Finance Discussion Papers 804, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998. "Inflation and Reputation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625, David K. Levine.
  5. Stephen Hansen & Michael F. McMahon, 2008. "Delayed Doves: MPC Voting Behaviour of Externals," CEP Discussion Papers dp0862, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Hansen, Stephen & McMahon, Michael, 2011. "How Experts Decide : Identifying Preferences versus Signals from Policy Decisions," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 963, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-455, November.
  8. Ehud Kalai & Ehud Lehrer, 1992. "Weak and Strong Merging of Opinions," Discussion Papers 983, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Bianchi, Francesco & Melosi, Leonardo, 2016. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," Working Paper Series WP-2016-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Mahieu, Ronald J & Raes, Louis, 2013. "Inferring hawks and doves from voting records," CEPR Discussion Papers 9418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Sibert, Anne, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Hansen,Stephen & McMahon, Michael, 2013. "Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Priors," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 127, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  13. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
  14. Matias Iaryczower & Matthew Shum, 2012. "The Value of Information in the Court: Get It Right, Keep It Tight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 202-237, February.
  15. Giorgio Primiceri, 2005. "Why Inflation Rose and Fell: Policymakers' Beliefs and US Postwar Stabilization Policy," NBER Working Papers 11147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Hansen, Stephen & McMahon, Michael & Velasco Rivera, Carlos, 2014. "Preferences or private assessments on a monetary policy committee?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 16-32.
  17. Besley, Timothy & Meads, Neil & Surico, Paolo, 2007. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policy-Making," Discussion Papers 20, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  18. Francesco Bianchi, 2014. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," 2014 Meeting Papers 424, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
  20. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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