How Do Central Banks Talk? Geneva Reports on the World Economy No. 3

Not long ago, secrecy was the byword in central banking circles, but now the unmistakable trend is towards greater openness and transparency. This, the third Geneva Report on the World Economy, describes and evaluates some of the changes in how central banks talk to the markets, to the press, and to the public. The report first assesses the case for transparency ? defined as providing sufficient information for the public to understand the policy regime ? and concludes that it is very strong, based on both policy effectiveness and democratic accountability. It then examines what should be the content of communication and argues that central banks ought to spell out their long-run objectives and methods. It then investigates the link between the decision-making process and central bank communication, drawing a distinction between individualistic and collegial committees. The report concludes with a review of the communications strategies of some of the main central banks.