DP9994 Transparency and Deliberation within the FOMC: a Computational Linguistics Approach

Author(s): Stephen Hansen, Michael McMahon, Andrea Prat
Publication Date: May 2014
Keyword(s): career concerns, deliberation, FOMC, monetary policy, transparency
JEL(s): D78, E52, E58
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics, Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9994

How does transparency, a key feature of central bank design, affect the deliberation of monetary policymakers? We exploit a natural experiment in the Federal Open Market Committee in 1993 together with computational linguistic models (particularly Latent Dirichlet Allocation) to measure the effect of increased transparency on debate. Commentators have hypothesized both a beneficial discipline effect and a detrimental conformity effect. A difference-in-differences approach inspired by the career concerns literature uncovers evidence for both effects. However, the net effect of increased transparency appears to be a more informative deliberation process.