Central Bank Communication with the General Public: Promise or False Hope?
Alan S. Blinder
Jakob de Haan
Journal of Economic Literature (Forthcoming)
Central banks are increasingly reaching out to the general public to motivate and explain their monetary policy actions. One major aim of this outreach is to ensure accountability and create trust; another is to guide inflation expectations. This article surveys a rapidly growing literature on central bank communication with the public—rather than with the financial markets. We first discuss why such communication matters and is more challenging than communicating with expert audiences. Then we turn to methods: How do central banks try to reach the public, and do they succeed? Next, and importantly, we survey the empirical evidence on the extent to which this new outreach affects inflation expectations. On balance, we see some promise in the potential to inform the public better, but many challenges along the way.