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Optimal Central Bank Conservatism and Monopoly Trade Unions

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  • Carsten Hefeker
  • Helge Berger
  • Ronnie Schlöb

Abstract

The "conservative central banker" has come under attack recently. On the basis of models in which there is explicit interaction between trade union behavior and monetary policy, it has been argued that if 'trade unions' are averse to inflation, welfare will be lower with a conservative than with a liberal central bank. We reframe this discussion in a standard trade union model. We show that the case against the conservative central banker rests exclusively on the assumption of a strictly nominal outside option (for instance, unemployment benefits) for the union. There is no welfare gain associated with making the central bank less conservative than society, however, if the outside option is in real terms. As the nominal components of the trade union's outside option are mainly public transfers, we also show that the conservative central banker is always optimal if the government can choose the level of nominal unemployment benefits as well as the degree of central bank conservatism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 02/44.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/44

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References

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  1. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Cukierman, Alex & Dalmazzo, Alberto, 2000. "Monetary Institutions, Monopolistic Competition, Unionized Labour Markets And Economic Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2407, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Eijffinger, S. & De Hann, J., 1995. "The Political Economy of Central Bank Independence," Papers 9587, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  3. Lippi, Francesco, 1999. "Revisiting the Case for a Populist Central Banker," CEPR Discussion Papers 2306, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Lawler, Phillip, 2000. "Centralised Wage Setting, Inflation Contracts, and the Optimal Choice of Central Banker," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 559-75, April.
  5. Francesco Lippi, 2003. "Strategic Monetary Policy with Non-Atomistic Wage Setters," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 909-919, October.
  6. Bevger, H. & Haan, J. de & Eijffinger, S.C.W., 2000. "Central Bank Independence: An Update of Theory and Evidence," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-82768, Tilburg University.
  7. Cubitt, Robin P, 1992. "Monetary Policy Games and Private Sector Precommitment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 513-30, July.
  8. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1984. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Soskice & Torben Iversen, 2000. "The Nonneutrality Of Monetary Policy With Large Price Or Wage Setters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 265-284, February.
  10. Lawrence F. Katz & Olivier Blanchard, 1999. "Wage Dynamics: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 69-74, May.
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  12. Walsh, Carl E, 1995. "Optimal Contracts for Central Bankers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 150-67, March.
  13. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "The Microeconomic Theory of the Trade Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 576-95, September.
  14. Gruner, Hans Peter & Hefeker, Carsten, 1999. " How Will EMU Affect Inflation and Unemployment in Europe?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(1), pages 33-47, March.
  15. Fischer, Stanley & Summers, Lawrence, 1993. "Should Governments Learn to Live with Inflation? Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 312-13, March.
  16. Henrik Jensen, 1993. "International monetary policy cooperation in economies with centralized wage setting," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 269-285, September.
  17. Cukierman, A. & Lippi, F., 1998. "Central Bank Independence, Centralization of Wage Bargaining, Inflation and Unemployment - Theory and Some Evidence," Discussion Paper 1998-116, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  18. Guzzo, Vincenzo & Velasco, Andres, 1999. "The case for a populist Central Banker," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1317-1344, June.
  19. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James McHugh, 2002. "Wage Centralization, Union Bargaining, and Macroeconomic Performance," IMF Working Papers 02/143, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Tilemahos Efthimiadis, 2004. "Does Wage Indexing Matter?," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2004 30, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  3. Bernd Hayo & Hans Peter Gruner & Carsten Hefeker, 2004. "Monetary policy uncertainty and unionized labour markets," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 42, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  4. Grüner, Hans Peter & Hayo, Bernd & Hefeker, Carsten, 2005. "Unions, wage setting and monetary policy uncertainty," Working Paper Series 0490, European Central Bank.
  5. Bernd Hayo & Carsten Hefeker, 2001. "Do We Really Need Central Bank Independence? A Critical Re- examination," Macroeconomics 0103006, EconWPA.
  6. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni, 2007. "The Cost of Social Pacts," MPRA Paper 3585, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Lawler, Phillip, 2007. "Strategic wage setting, inflation uncertainty and optimal delegation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1105-1118, December.
  8. Robert Franzese, 2001. "Strategic Interactions of Monetary Policymakers and Wage/Price Bargainers: A Review with Implications for the European Common-Currency Area," Empirica, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 457-486, December.

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