Estimating the Information Value of Immediate Disclosure of the FOMC Policy Directive

  • Author(s): JAMES M. O'BRIEN
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 1047-1061
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1981.tb01075.x

ABSTRACT

This paper studies the information value of immediate disclosure of the FOMC policy directive. The value of disclosure is measured by its ability to reduce investors' expected uncertainty about futures interest rates where uncertainty is defined as the conditional variance of forecast errors. Analytical relationships between new information and the conditional variance of forecast errors are developed and the relation of the “uncertainty‐reducing” value of information to its social value, as defined in recent literature, is indicated. In the empirical work, forward interest rates are treated as reflecting market expectations conditioned on existing information. The empirical tests indicate that information in the undisclosed, prevailing policy directives (1974–79) were able to make only a very marginal improvement in the predictive accuracy of forecasts relying only on the forward rates. Thus, the hypothesis that immediate disclosure has a significant information value to market participants is not supported.

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