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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Working Paper Series
Taking the Fed at its Word: Direct Estimation of Central Bank Objectives using Text Analytics
Adam Hale Shapiro
Daniel J. Wilson
Abstract

There is an extensive literature that studies optimal monetary policy with an assumed central bank loss function, yet there has been very little study of what central bank preferences are in practice. We directly estimate the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) loss function, including the implicit inflation target, from the tone of the language used in FOMC transcripts, minutes, and members' speeches. Direct estimation is advantageous because it requires no knowledge of the underlying macroeconomic structure nor observation of central bank actions. We fi nd that the FOMC had an implicit inflation target of approximately 1 1/2 percent on average over our baseline 2000-2012 sample period. We also find that the FOMC's loss depends strongly on output growth and stock market performance and less so on their perception of current slack.


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Adam Hale Shapiro & Daniel J. Wilson, Taking the Fed at its Word: Direct Estimation of Central Bank Objectives using Text Analytics, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Working Paper Series 2019-2, 18 Jan 2019.
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DOI: 10.24148/wp2019-02
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