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Working Papers

June 1985, No. 85-4

Monetary Policy, Secrecy, and Federal Funds Rate Behavior

Michael Dotsey

The behavior of the Federal Reserve System can be characterized as secretive with respect to its control of monetary aggregates. One common justification for this secrecy is that markets will overreact to information, causing undue variability in interest rates. However, the consequences of keeping policy objectives hidden has received little formal attention. This paper takes an initial step by examining the variability of the federal funds rate and total reserves under nonborrowed reserve targeting. The major result is that the disclosure of operating procedures will generally increase the unconditional variability of both the funds rate and total reserves, but will decrease the variance of the forecasting error of the federal funds rate.

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