Central Bank of Jamaica’s reggae based communication policy: Proof of pudding lies in its eating

Jamaica’s former central bank governor Brian Wynter in this IMF interview:

F&D: The Bank of Jamaica used popular reggae music to explain the benefits of low and stable inflation to a public long accustomed to focusing on the exchange rate. Did this approach pay off?

BW: I do not think we have seen the payoff yet. This was a direct appeal to our population: the reggae music, TV and radio ads, and especially the billboards that are still out there saying that inflation is a monster—let’s not have it again.

But the central bank cannot beat that drum too long or too hard. It needs to connect to something, and I am not seeing right now how it connects. The ultimate payoff for effective communication is better understanding of policies, or attention to decisions.

One of the biggest remaining challenges is getting the public to understand that the central bank is not there to stop the exchange rate from moving. For a competitive and resilient economy, we need to overcome the force and power of the bias of the system towards a more rigid exchange rate. Having seen Jamaica successfully implement many difficult reforms, I am confident this change will come.

The interview also discusses the challenges small open economies face in their monetary policy frameworks..

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