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Inflation Targets as Focal Points

Author(s): 
Maria Demertzis and Nicola Viegi
Publication date: 
September, 2005
In a world characterised by noisy information and conflicting signals, no Central Bank is always able to affect private sector expectations. Based on Morris and Shin’s model, monetary policy then becomes an information game, in which individuals form their expectations based on all the information that is available to them (public and private). However individual agents also know that ultimately inflation is affected by both the objectives of the Central Bank (and hence the policies it pursues) as well as the average expectation formed by the all agents. They thus need to evaluate both actions. Central to our argument is the way that individuals interpret these actions to form their expectations. We apply Bacharach’s methodology to provide a framework for assessing everyone’s interpretations. Our contribution is to merge these two models to show that a monetary policy regime that has explicit quantitative objectives may provide individuals with better anchors for expectations to coordinate at. However, that is only true first, if no great shocks are anticipated to hit the economy and second, when all other public information is very unclear thus rendering the inflation target the only clear piece of information. We derive in detail the conditions under which this is true.
Publication PDF: 
Series title: 
Working Paper 002
Journal: 
2008, International Journal of Central Banking, 4(1), 55-87