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A Quantitive Assessment of the Qualitative Aspects of Chairman Greenspan's Communications


  • Michelle Bligh

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Gregory D. Hess

    (Claremont McKenna College)


A manifestation of the Federal Reserve Board's increased transparency has been Chairman Greenspan's method of communication. The purpose of this paper is to establish the positive aspects of his speeches, testimonies and FOMC statements on financial market variables. This analysis is undertaken using daily data since the middle of 1999, that is the period after which the FOMC provided statements after every FOMC meeting. Using content analysis, we calculate for each communication a measure of its certainty, pessimism, optimism, activity, immediacy and jargon. We then include these variables in standard regression to see if these language variables can help to forecast movements in financial market variables. We find that Chairman Greenspan's language does indeed forecast movements in financial market variables at the same day and 10 day horizons. In particular, FOMC statements contribute substantially to help predict same day and 10 day variation in these measures, though testimonies also contribute to predicting movements at the 10 day horizon. We conclude by arguing that given the given our evidence that Chairman's language predicts movements in the federal funds futures rates and Treasury forward rates, that this is consistent with the beneficial goals from enhanced central bank communications

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle Bligh & Gregory D. Hess, 2006. "A Quantitive Assessment of the Qualitative Aspects of Chairman Greenspan's Communications," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 213, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecfa:213

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    Cited by:

    1. Angela K. Davis & Jeremy M. Piger & Lisa M. Sedor, 2006. "Beyond the numbers: an analysis of optimistic and pessimistic language in earnings press releases," Working Papers 2006-005, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Scott Hendry & Alison Madeley, 2010. "Text Mining and the Information Content of Bank of Canada Communications," Staff Working Papers 10-31, Bank of Canada.
    3. Scott Hendry, 2012. "Central Bank Communication or the Media’s Interpretation: What Moves Markets?," Staff Working Papers 12-9, Bank of Canada.
    4. Sazedj, Sharmin & Tavares, José, 2011. "Hope, Change, and Financial Markets: Can Obama's Words Drive the Market?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8713, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    monetary policy; communication;

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy


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