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The Effects of Monetary Policy “News” and “Surprises”


  • We are grateful to the Editor, Pok-sang Lam, and two anonymous referees for extremely helpful comments and suggestions.


There is substantial agreement in the monetary policy literature over the effects of exogenous monetary policy shocks. The shocks that are investigated, however, almost exclusively represent unanticipated changes in policy, which surprise the private sector and which are typically found to have a delayed and sluggish effect on output. In this paper, we estimate a New Keynesian model that incorporates news about future policies to try to disentangle the anticipated and unanticipated components of policy shocks. The paper shows that the conventional estimates confound two distinct effects on output: an effect due to unanticipated or “surprise” shocks, which is smaller and more short-lived than the response usually obtained in the literature, and a large, delayed, and persistent effect due to anticipated policy shocks or “news.” News shocks play a larger role in influencing the business cycle than unanticipated policy shocks, although the overall fraction of economic fluctuations that can be attributed to monetary policy remains limited.