Ms. Katerina Smídková, Viktor Kotlán, David Navrátil, and Mr. Ales Bulir
Inflation-targeting central banks have a respectable track record at explaining their policy actions and corresponding inflation outturns. Using a simple forward-looking policy rule and an assessment of inflation reports, we provide a new methodology for the empirical evaluation of consistency in central bank communication. We find that the three communication tools-inflation targets, inflation forecasts, and verbal assessments of inflation factors contained in quarterly inflation reports-provided a consistent message in five out of six observations in our 2000-05 sample of Chile, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Thailand, and Sweden.
Mr. Martin Cihak, Ms. Katerina Smídková, and Mr. Ales Bulir
The paper presents a methodology for measuring the clarity of central bank communication, illustrating it with the case of the European Central Bank (ECB) in 1999-2007. The analysis identifies the ECB's written communication as clear about 95 percent of instances, which is comparable to, or even better than, other central banks for which a similar analysis is available. We also find that the additional information contained in the ECB's Monthly Bulletins helps to improve communication clarity compared to ECB's press releases. In particular, the Bulletins contain useful clarifying information on individual inflation factors and the overall forecast risk; in contrast, the bulletin's communication on monetary shocks has a negative, albeit small, impact on clarity.
The Czech National Bank has a respectable track record in terms of its policy actions and the corresponding inflation outturns. Using a simple forward-looking policy rule, we find that its main communication tools-inflation targets, inflation forecasts, verbal assessments of the inflation risks contained in quarterly inflation reports, and the voting within the CNB Board-provided a clear message in about three out of every four observations in our 2001- 2005 sample.
Mr. Ales Bulir, Jaromír Hurník, and Katerina Smidkova
We offer a novel methodology for assessing the quality of inflation reports. In contrast to the existing literature, which mostly evaluates the formal quality of these reports, we evaluate their economic content by comparing inflation factors reported by the central banks with ex-post model-identified factors. Regarding the former, we use verbal analysis and coding of inflation reports to describe inflation factors communicated by central banks in real time. Regarding the latter, we use reduced-form, new Keynesian models and revised data to approximate the true inflation factors. Positive correlations indicate that the reported inflation factors were similar to the true, model-identified ones and hence mark high-quality inflation reports. Although central bank reports on average identify inflation factors correctly, the degree of forward-looking reporting varies across factors, time, and countries.