Rational partisan theory, uncertainty, and spatial voting: Evidence for the Bank of England's MPC

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    Abstract

    The transparency and openness of the monetary policy-making process at the Bank of England has provided very detailed information on both the decisions of individual members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the information on which they are based. In this paper, we consider this decision-making process in the context of a model in which inflation forecast targeting is used, but there is heterogeneity among the members of the committee. We find that rational partisan theory can explain spatial voting behavior under forecast uncertainty about the output gap. Internally generated forecasts of output and market-generated expectations of medium-term inflation provide the best description of discrete changes in interest rates, in combination with uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment. There is also a role for developments in asset, housing and labor markets. Further, spatial voting patterns clearly differentiate between internally and externally apzpointed members of the MPC. The results have important implications for committee design and the conduct of monetary policy. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-179
    Number of pages29
    JournalEconomics and Politics
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

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