Monetary Policy Transparency:Too Good to be True?
In the last fifteen years or so the conduct of monetary policy in developed economies has converged in a number of ways which include an increasing emphasis on ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ in policy-making. There is a widespread belief that transparency in the conduct of UK monetary policy has increased substantially since, and because of, the introduction of inflation targeting and associated institutional reforms in 1992. A large measure of this belief is based upon studies which reveal the increased ability of money market agents to anticipate accurately the change in official rates. In this paper, we have updated one of those studies and show that the findings are largely unaffected by events of the last five years. More interestingly, perhaps, we have floated the possibility that this improved anticipation may be the result of developments other than institutional reforms. For example, it is notable that the Bank of England has made fewer and smaller interest changes since 1992. It is also widely believed (and the behaviour of many macro variables suggests this) that economies have generally become more stable since 1992. If this is true, then macroeconomic forecasts in general should have improved and the increased anticipation would be, partly at least, due to this rather than institutional changes. We test both theses hypotheses with negative results.
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