Central Bank Communications: A Case Study
39 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2016
Date Written: 2016-09-01
Over the past twenty five years, central bank communications have undergone a major revolution. Central banks that previously shrouded themselves in mystery now embrace social media to get their message out to the widest audience. The Federal Reserve System has not always been at the forefront of these changes, but the volume of information about monetary policy that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) now releases dwarfs what it was releasing a quarter century ago. In this paper we focus on just one channel of FOMC communications, the post-meeting statement. We document how it has evolved over time, and in particular the extent to which it has become more detailed, but also more difficult to understand. We then use a VAR with daily financial market data to estimate a daily time series of U.S. monetary policy shocks. We show how these shocks on Fed statement release days have gotten larger as the statement has gotten longer and more detailed, and we show that the length and complexity of the statement has a direct effect on the size of the monetary policy shock following a Fed decision.
JEL Classification: E58, E65
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation