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First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics

  • 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://www.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
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:1163
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  1. James Bullard & Stefano Eusepi, 2003. "Did the Great Inflation Occur Despite Policymaker Commitment to a Taylor Rule?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 129, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2008. "Delayed doves: MPC voting behaviour of externals," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19611, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C, 2005. "The Decline of Activist Stabilization Policy: Natural Rate Misperceptions, Learning and Expectations," CEPR Discussion Papers 4865, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. David Backus & John Driffill, 1984. "Inflation and Reputation," Working Papers 560, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  9. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2011. "How Experts Decide: Identifying Preferences versus Signals from Policy Decisions," CEP Discussion Papers dp1063, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  11. 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.
  12. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  13. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665, 07.
  14. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  15. Besley, Timothy & Meads, Neil & Surico, Paolo, 2007. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policy-Making," Discussion Papers 20, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  16. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
  17. 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.
  18. Richard A. Posner, 1974. "Theories of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 335-358, Autumn.
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