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First impressions matter: Signalling as a source of policy dynamics

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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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1279.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1279
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. 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.
  2. 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 202-37, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory And Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  7. Richard A. Posner, 1974. "Theories of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 335-358, Autumn.
  8. Orphanides, Athanasios & Williams, John C., 2005. "The decline of activist stabilization policy: Natural rate misperceptions, learning, and expectations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1927-1950, November.
  9. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1994. "Weak and strong merging of opinions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 73-86, January.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Francesco Bianchi & Leonardo Melosi, 2014. "Constrained Discretion and Central Bank Transparency," NBER Working Papers 20566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Besley, Timothy & Meads, Neil & Surico, Paolo, 2007. "Insiders versus Outsiders in Monetary Policy-Making," Discussion Papers 20, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  15. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
  16. David Backus & John Driffill, 1984. "Inflation and Reputation," Working Papers 560, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  17. Vickers, John, 1986. "Signalling in a Model of Monetary Policy with Incomplete Information," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 443-55, November.
  18. 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.
  19. Stephen Hansen & Michael F. McMahon, 2008. "Delayed Doves: MPC Voting Behaviour of Externals," CEP Discussion Papers dp0862, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  20. Sibert, Anne, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  22. 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.
  23. Kiel, Alexandra & Gerling, Kerstin & Schulte, Elisabeth & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2003. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: a survey," Working Paper Series 0256, European Central Bank.
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