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The Equilibrium Degree of Transparency and Control in Monetary Policy

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  • Jon Faust
  • Lars E.O. Svensson

Abstract

We examine a central bank's endogenous choice of degree of control and degree of transparency, under both commitment and discretion. Under commitment, we find that the deliberate choice of sloppy control is far less likely under a standard central-bank loss function than reported for a less standard loss function by Cukierman and Meltzer. Under discretion, maximum degree of control is the only equilibrium. With regard to the degree of transparency, under commitment, a sufficiently patient bank with sufficiently low average inflation bias will always choose minimum transparency. Under discretion, both minimum and maximum transparency are equilibria. We argue that discretion is the more realistic assumption for the choice of control and that commitment is more realistic for the choice of transparency. A maximum feasible degree of control with a minimum degree of transparency is then a likely outcome. The Bundesbank and the Federal Reserve System are, arguably, examples of this outcome.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7152.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Publication status: published as Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Vol. 34, no. 2 (May 2002): 520-539
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7152

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  1. 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.
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  3. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Seonghwan Oh, 1990. "When and how much to talk: credibility and flexibility in monetary policy with private information," Working Papers 1990-004, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Svensson, Lars E.O. & Faust, John, 1998. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," Seminar Papers 636, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  5. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
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  7. von Hagen, J, 1995. "Inflation and Monetary Targeting in Germany," Papers 03, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies-.
  8. Fischer, Stanley, 1990. "Rules versus discretion in monetary policy," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 21, pages 1155-1184 Elsevier.
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  10. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
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  15. Bernanke, Ben S. & Mihov, Ilian, 1997. "What does the Bundesbank target?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1025-1053, June.
  16. Walsh, Carl E, 1986. "In Defense of Base Drift," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 692-700, September.
  17. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  18. Marvin Goodfriend, 1985. "Monetary mystique : secrecy and central banking," Working Paper 85-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  19. 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.
  20. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Cheap Talk and the Fed: A Theory of Imprecise Policy Announcements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 32-42, March.
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  22. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Carl E. Walsh, 1998. "U.S. inflation targeting: pro and con," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue may29.
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