Expectations and the Central Banker: Making Decisions the Market Expects to See? [revised]
Reflecting on his experience as a central banker, Alan Blinder (1998) observed that “while I never saw a single case of a central banker succumbing to the temptation that so worried Kydland and Prescott, I often witnessed central bankers sorely tempted to deliver the policy that the markets expected or demanded.” In this paper we develop a framework that examines conditions under which a central banker is tempted to “follow the markets.” In doing so, we explore the implications of increased market ‘consensus’ on the practice of monetary policy and show that ineciency in policymaking is most likely precisely when there is a very high consensus that economic fundamentals are weak or strong. In addition, our results also shed light on (i) why interest rates may not be high enough even when the central bank’s information suggests a rise in asset prices may be due to ‘bubble’ shock; (ii) why a central banker may be reluctant to adopt a loose monetary policy even when investors seem to be very pessimistic about the path of future output; and (iii) why, contrary to conventional models, we sometimes observe an upward revision of private sector’s forecasts of inflation when the central bank tightens its monetary policy. The results have implications for transparency of monetary policy.
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