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RWP 22-02, February 2022; updated August 2023

This paper studies the transmission of Federal Reserve communication to financial markets and the economy using new measures of the term structure of policy rate uncertainty. High-frequency movements in the term structure of interest rate uncertainty around FOMC announcements cannot be summarized by a single measure but, instead, are two dimensional. We characterize these two dimensions as the Level and Slope factors of the term structure of interest rate uncertainty. These two monetary policy uncertainty factors help to explain changes in Treasury yields and forward real interest rates following FOMC announcements, even after accounting for changes in the expected path of policy rates. Finally, compared to high-frequency instruments derived from interest rate futures, our policy uncertainty factors provide stronger first-stage instruments and imply FOMC forward guidance has been more effective in stimulating economic activity in a standard proxy SVAR.

JEL Classifications: E32, E52

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Article Citation

  • Bundick, Brent, Trenton Herriford, and A. Lee Smith. 2022. "The Term Structure of Monetary Policy Uncertainty." Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Research Working Paper no. 22-02, February. Available at External Link


Brent Bundick

Sr. Research and Policy Advisor

Brent Bundick is a Senior Research and Policy Advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He rejoined the Department in 2014 after com…

A. Lee Smith

Senior Vice President

Andrew Lee Smith is a Senior Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In this role, Lee has oversight of macroeconomic research and serves as an a…