On Friday all econ-loving eyes will be focused on Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Think of it as Oscar night for macroeconomists. Except with sensible shoes rather than plunging necklines. But the anticipation and gossip is just as intense. Markets are convinced that Ben Bernanke’s going to make a major announcement. I disagree. Here's why:
1. Central bankers generally try to be more boring than their audience wants them to be. That won’t change.
2. The run of data since the last Fed meeting hasn’t really changed, so why would monetary policy?
3. Given the slim governing coalition, Ben can’t get too far ahead of the rest of the committee. So look for all the action to come from official Fed statements, rather than cryptic hints at Jackson Hole.
4. Sometimes Fed Chairmen are accidentally more interesting than they mean to be. At last year’s conference Big Ben shared some of his thinking about alternative monetary tools. This was news in 2010, and it excited the markets. But today, we’ve all thought long and hard about the alternatives, so it’s hard to see a surprise coming.