Central bank sentiment and policy expectations

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 17 February 2017

Working Paper No. 648
By Paul Hubert and Fabien Labondance

We explore empirically the theoretical prediction that optimism or pessimism have aggregate effects, in the context of monetary policy. First, we quantify the tone conveyed by FOMC policymakers in their statements using computational linguistics. Second, we identify sentiment as the unpredictable component of tone, orthogonal to fundamentals, expectations, monetary shocks and investors’ sentiment. Third, we estimate the impact of FOMC sentiment on the term structure of private interest rate expectations using a high-frequency methodology and an ARCH model. Optimistic FOMC sentiment increases policy expectations primarily at the one-year maturity. We also find that sentiment affects inflation and industrial production beyond monetary shocks.

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