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Inflationary Sentiments and Monetary Policy Communcation

  • Leonardo Melosi

    (London Business School)

  • Francesco Bianchi

    (Duke University)

We develop a DSGE model in which the conduct of monetary policy influences agents' inflationary sentiments, defined as waves of pessimism about how aggressively the central bank will react to inflation in the future. Monetary policy alternates periods of active inflation stabilization (i.e., active regime) and periods during which the emphasis is mainly on output stabilization (i.e., passive regime). Deviations from the active regime can be long or short lasting. When observing passive monetary policy, agents do not know the nature of the deviation and have to learn which type of passive regime is in place. As the central bank deviates from the active monetary policy for a longer and longer period, inflationary sentiments progressively spread among agents, who get increasingly convinced that the central bank might have switched to the long-lasting passive regime. Mounting inflationary sentiments have the effect to make the inflation-output gap trade-off worse and to depress private sector's welfare. When the model is calibrated to U.S. data, we find that inflationary sentiments sluggishly rise as the Federal Reserve deviates from active monetary policy. Such a dynamic for sentiments implies that (i) inflation drifts up for several years in response to a cost-push shock and (ii) the Federal Reserve has a large leeway in accommodating this type of shocks. Increasing the transparency of the Federal Reserve is found to improve welfare by anchoring inflationary sentiments. Gains from transparency are even more sizeable in periods when the persistence of shocks is high and for countries whose central bank has failed establishing a strong commitment to keeping inflation under control.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 893.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:893
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

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  1. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," NBER Working Papers 11874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Farmer, Roger E.A. & Waggoner, Daniel F. & Zha, Tao, 2009. "Understanding Markov-switching rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 1849-1867, September.
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  5. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  6. Thomas Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2002. "Testing for Indeterminacy:An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive 480, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2003.
  7. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  8. Cogley, Timothy & Matthes, Christian & Sbordone, Argia M., 2011. "Optimal disinflation under learning," Staff Reports 524, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 May 2014.
  9. Nimark, Kristoffer, 2008. "Dynamic pricing and imperfect common knowledge," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 365-382, March.
  10. Frank Schorfheide, 2003. "Learning and monetary policy shifts," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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