Research / BFI Working PaperSep 15, 2019

Monetary Policy Communications and their Effects on Household Inflation Expectations

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Michael Weber

We study how different forms of communication influence inflation expectations in a randomized controlled trial using nearly 20,000 U.S. individuals. We elicit individuals’ inflation expectations in the Nielsen Homescan panel then provide eight different forms of information regarding inflation. Reading the actual Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement has about the same average effect on expectations as simply being told about the Federal Reserve’s inflation target. Reading a news article about the most recent FOMC meetings results in a forecast revision which is smaller by half. Our results have implications for how central banks should communicate to the broader public.

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