ECB communication with non-experts – results from an experiment

Last registered on January 31, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

ECB communication with non-experts – results from an experiment
Initial registration date
January 27, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 31, 2024, 11:48 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

European Central Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We conduct randomized controlled trials exploiting responses from ECB visitors to examine whether ECB communication at press conferences potentially improves households’ monetary literacy and is causal for macroeconomic expectations of non-experts.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Jung, Alexander. 2024. "ECB communication with non-experts – results from an experiment." AEA RCT Registry. January 31.
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Experimental Details


As part of its external activities, the ECB provides on-site expert lectures on topics related to monetary policy aimed at visitor groups with a good understanding of the ECB’s monetary policy. Those visitors have been potentially exposed to monetary policy issues during their education. They can be expected to have higher literacy scores than the average household and should be responsive to information treatments. Therefore, these sessions provide an ideal laboratory for our experiments. The treatment consisted of an intense briefing in the form of a lecture by a senior monetary policy expert from the ECB lasting around 90 minutes, with interactive elements resembling the Q&A session of the ECB President at the press conference. The presentations were given by different ECB monetary policy experts. Each presenter gave additional explanations about the ECB’s monetary policy during this session. Topics included the ECB’s assessment of the current economic situation, future outlook and underlying risks, the factors driving its decisions, the mandate and institutional setting of the ECB (including price stability goal, central bank independence, prohibition of monetary financing, voting), the ECB’s monetary policy strategy, the outcome of the ECB’s 2020/21 strategy review, the monetary policy tools including conventional and non-conventional monetary policy instruments, channels of monetary policy transmission. During the briefing session, visitors were invited to ask questions on monetary policy topics.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Impact of ECB communication on visitors’ monetary literacy, inflation and growth expectations for the euro area.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Monetary literacy is an essential channel by which monetary news transmits to households' expectations. The hypothesis is that because literate subjects may select more relevant information and use available information better, they will make medium-term inflation forecasts that are more in in line with the ECB’s inflation target.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We test individuals from ECB visitor groups who, according to self-assessments, have an advanced understanding of the ECB’s monetary policy. During the intervention visitors were provided with latest information about the ECB’s monetary policy decisions, its institutional setting, objectives, monetary policy strategy and tools. Information was provided during an interactive session of ECB visitors with a senior monetary policy expert from the ECB, which took around 90 minutes and broadly resembled the form of communication at ECB press conferences.
A new survey was designed to measure the literacy about the monetary policy of the ECB. All participants were asked to complete a three-part questionnaire. In the first section of the questionnaire, data on the demographics of visitors (age, gender, level of education, origin) was collected. The second section asked questions testing participants’ institutional knowledge about the monetary policy of the ECB and their perceptions about current inflation and (real) economic growth in the euro area. The third section asked questions testing participants’ quantitative knowledge about the monetary policy of the ECB and their inflation and growth expectations for the euro area over the next three years. The answers to the questionnaire were collected with an app for mobile phones.
ECB visitors were broken down into two groups: a control and an experimental group. The control group had to fill out the whole monetary literacy questionnaire (sections I-III) at the beginning of the session, i.e., before the information treatment. The experimental (or treated) group filled out sections I and II of it before the intervention and only section III after it. Hence, the treatment potentially influenced quantitative literacy scores and the visitors’ medium-term expectations about euro area inflation and economic growth.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by visitor group session.
Randomization Unit
Individual ECB visitor
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2000 individuals over 3 language groups and 30-40 sessions
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
~600 respondents in control and ~600 in treatments
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number