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July/August 1990, 
Vol. 72, No. 4
Posted 1990-07-01

Strategic Considerations in Monetary Policy with Private Information: Can Secrecy Be Avoided?

by Seonghwan Oh and Michelle R. Garfinkel

Seonghwan Oh and Michelle R. Garfinkel illustrate why a central bank may not be able to make credible announcements about its policy decisions precisely even if it would be better off by doing so. The lack of credibility results from the public’s knowledge that the central bank gains from "surprising” the public with its monetary policy actions. Oh and Garfinkel show, however, the central bank can make announcements that imprecisely reveal its private information. These imprecise or "noisy” announcements will be credible, only if constraints can be imposed on the central bank that limit its policy independence. Hence, the authors argue that, if limiting policy flexibility is costly, the advantages of avoiding secrecy in monetary policy—even partially—must be carefully weighed against the cost of doing so.

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