Rules, Discretion, and Central Bank Independence: The German Experience 1880-1989
AbstractTheories of rules and discretion suggest that monetary policy rules are first best in terms of social welfare. However, if commitment is not feasible, delegating monetary policy to an independent and conservative central bank can be second best. Monetary policy in Germany during the past one hundred years provides an excellent case to assess the empirical evidence on the use of rules and central bank independence in monetary policy making. Since the creation of a central monetary authority in 1876, Germany has participated in four monetary regimes: the pre-war gold standard, the inter-war gold standard, the Bretton-Woods system, and the floating exchange rate regime. The bottom line of our analysis is that monetary policy in Germany was always geared toward maintaining price stability with the exception of the two world war periods. Germany relied both on rules and discretion with central bank independence to achieve the goal of price stability. A comparison of the Classical Gold Standard regime with the floating exchange rate regime suggests that society under the floating exchange rate regime with central bank independence was better off. However, this comparison ignores the historical difference in output shocks and the possibility that society became more inflation averse over time.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4547.
Date of creation: Nov 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Pierre Siklos, ed., Varieties of Monetary Reform: Lessons and Experience on the Road to Monetary Union. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994, pp. 279-321.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Bernard Eschweiler & Michael D. Bordo, 1996. "Rules, Discretion, and Central Bank Independence: The German Experience 1880 - 1989," Departmental Working Papers 199402, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
- N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Obstfeld, Maurice, 1992.
"The Adjustment Mechanism,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
648, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Richard C.K. Burdekin & Leroy O. Laney, 1986.
"Fiscal policymaking and the central bank institutional constraint,"
8606, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
- Burdekin, Richard C K & Laney, Leroy O, 1988. "Fiscal Policymaking and the Central Bank Institutional Constraint," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 647-62.
- Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1993. "A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord93-1.
- Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
- Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983.
"A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
- Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Macroeconomics and Politics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Fratianni, Michele & von Hagen, Jürgen & Waller, Christopher, 1992. "From EMS to EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 618, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Bradley, Michael D & Potter, Susan M, 1986. "The State of the Federal Budget and the State of the Economy: Further Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(1), pages 143-53, January.
- Bharat Trehan, 1988. "The practice of monetary targeting: a case study of the West German experience," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Spr, pages 30-44.
- Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1994. "The Specie Standard as a Contingent Rule: Some Evidence for Core and Peripheral Countries, 1880-1990," NBER Working Papers 4860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.