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Inflation targets and contracts with uncertain central banker preferences

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  • Beetsma, R.M.W.J.
  • Jensen, H.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

Within a standard model of monetary delegation we show that the optimal linear inflation contract performs strictly better than the optimal inflation target when there is uncertainty about the central banker’s preferences. The optimal combination of a contract and a target performs best, and eliminates the inflation bias and any variability not associated with supply shocks. Variability due to shocks is enhanced by uncertain central banker preferences however, which suggests the need for alternative incentive mechanisms. Quadratic contracts are shown to partly overcome the problem. Still, the advantages of delegation may be dominated by the ‘excess variability’ due to shocks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 1996-93.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:199693

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Keywords: inflation; central banks; uncertainty;

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  1. Herrendorf, Berthold & Lockwood, Ben, 1996. "Rogoff's Conservative Central Banker Restored," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 450, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Nolan, Charles & Yates, Tony, 1996. "Mechanisms for Achieving Monetary Stability: Inflation Targeting Versus the ERM," CEPR Discussion Papers 1418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Svensson, L.E.O., 1995. "Optimal Inflation Targets, 'Conservative' Central Banks, and Linear Inflation Contracts," Papers 595, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  4. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Is New Zealand's Reserve Bank Act of 1989 an Optimal Central Bank Contract?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1179-91, November.
  5. D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998. "Inflation and Reputation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625, David K. Levine.
  6. Lossani, Marco & Natale, Piergiovanna & Tirelli, Patrizio, 1998. "Incomplete Information in Monetary Policy Games: Rules Rather Than a Conservative Central Banker," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 33-47, February.
  7. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  8. Lockwood, Ben & Miller, Marcus & Zhang, Lei, 1998. "Designing Monetary Policy When Unemployment Persists," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(259), pages 327-45, August.
  9. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, December.
  10. Lohmann, Susanne, 1992. "Optimal Commitment in Monetary Policy: Credibility versus Flexibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 273-86, March.
  11. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  12. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  13. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  14. Waller, Christopher J & Walsh, Carl E, 1996. "Central-Bank Independence, Economic Behavior, and Optimal Term Lengths," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1139-53, December.
  15. Stanley Fischer, 1995. "Modern Approaches to Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 5064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Charles Nolan & Eric Schaling, 1996. "Monetary Policy Uncertainty and Central Bank Accountability," Bank of England working papers 54, Bank of England.
  17. Alesina, Alberto & Gatti, Roberta, 1995. "Independent Central Banks: Low Inflation at No Cost?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 196-200, May.
  18. Thomas Havrilesky & John Gildea, 1991. "Screening Fomc Members For Their Biases And Dependability," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 139-149, 07.
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