Inflation Targeting: a Framework for Communication

20 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: C71, C78, E52

More than a monetary policy strategy, we interpret inflation targeting as a framework for communication. We model monetary policy as an information game between the Bank and private agents. Our analysis shows how the provision of an explicit numerical inflation objective overcomes potential information imperfections by providing a focal point for agents who form expectations. Furthermore, the combination of the target and the tolerance bands around it communicated, provide a very clear framework with which to evaluate monetary policy outcomes. A successful Central Bank then builds up credibility and a credible Central Bank is in a better position to be successful in subsequent periods. We show how (and when) inflation targeting exploits this self-reinforcing loop to help the Central Bank endure large and long-lasting shocks. Last, we show that a trade-off emerges when choosing the band-width: too narrow bands provide a focal point but reduce the likelihood of inflation being ‘successful’. Too wide bands on the other hand, lead easier to success but at the risk of failing to provide a clear focal point. We thus derive the optimal band-width for different scenarios.

Working Paper 071
1 September 2007