FRBSF Economic Letters

Economic analysis for a general audience

Jens H.E. Christensen and Nikola Mirkov


Investors are usually willing to pay a higher price, known as a premium, for a safe fixed-income asset in return for the convenience of its high quality and liquidity. A study of Swiss government bonds—widely considered to be extremely safe but not particularly liquid—can give some insights into how quality affects the premium. The large and variable safety premium of these bonds surged to persistently higher levels following the launch of the euro. However, subsequent large asset purchases by the European Central Bank depressed the safety premium.

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Analysis of current economic developments and the outlook

Western Economic Developments

Western Economic Developments is linked to via Fed in Print only.

Working Papers

The latest in economic research

Troy Davig and Andrew Foerster

Despite the ubiquity of inflation targeting, central banks communicate their frameworks in a variety of ways. No central bank explicitly expresses their conduct via a policy rule, which contrasts with models of policy. Central banks often connect theory with their practice by publishing inflation forecasts that can, in principle, implicitly convey their reaction function. We return to this central idea to show how a central bank can achieve the gains of a rule-based policy without publicly stating a specific rule. The approach requires central banks to specify an inflation target, inflation tolerance bands, and provide economic projections. When inflation moves outside the band, inflation forecasts provide a time frame over which inflation will return to within the band. We show how this communication replicates and provides the same information as a rule-based policy. In addition, the communication strategy produces a natural benchmark for assessing central bank performance.

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