Monetary policy transparency is generally considered these days to be a 'good thing' - though it was not always so. But what impact has greater transparency had? Carin van der Cruijsen and Sylvester Eijffinger from Tilburg University have reviewed the literature. Their paper, The Economic Impact of Central Bank Transparency: A Survey (PDF), provides an up-to-date overview of research on the desirability of central bank transparency from an economic viewpoint. Here are their main findings:
1) The theoretical literature does not come to a unanimous conclusion. Although the more recent theoretical literature argues in favor of more transparency, exceptions are procedural and political transparency.
2) Differences in outcomes occur because of differences in the models used. There is a tendency of more recent, micro-directed research to favor transparency.
3) The empirical literature shows that more transparency is indeed desirable. The only remaining question mark is procedural transparency.
4) There is still scope for some more research on transparency.
What direction might future research take?
..now that most central banks have already become more transparent, it is likely that the research will shift more towards communication, a trend that is already observable. As Winkler (2002) pointed out, the release of asymmetric information is not enough: communication should provide clarity to make sure that the re lease of information leads to common understanding between the public and the central bank.
The authors also argue that although central banks have increased their level of transparency, "there is still some room left for further improvements".