Perspectives From the Past for the Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy and Communication

Arto Kovanen


In this paper we analyze the Federal Reserve’s policy and communication patterns during earlier tightening cycles to gain perspectives into the Federal Reserve’s post-financial crisis monetary policy decisions and communication practices. While each interest rate cycle is unique, as is evident in the post-financial crisis normalization episode, there are regularities that could help inform us about future policy directions. In the post-financial period, the Federal Reserve has placed a great deal of emphasis on policy communication, in particular on its forward guidance, to minimize ambiguity about the future direction of monetary policy. We examine forward guidance during the earlier interest rate cycles and identify some common elements in the Federal Reserve’s communication practices, which would be useful in interpreting the Federal Reserve’s policy actions. This leads us to conclude that it would not be uncharacteristic for the Federal Reserve to suspend its campaign of raising interest rate at this stage of the normalization process, even if inflation risk remains. This underscored the importance of judgment in policy decisions, in part due to uncertainty about the neutral rate of interest, which is a benchmark that the Federal Reserve frequently refers to. In addition, historical trends in economic variables reveal patterns that could assist in evaluating the Federal Reserve’s current and future policy decisions.

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International Journal of Financial Research
ISSN 1923-4023(Print)ISSN 1923-4031(Online)


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