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Rules, Discretion, and Central Bank Independence: The German Experience 1880 - 1989

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Author Info

  • Bernard Eschweiler

    (J.P. Morgan GmbH)

  • Michael D. Bordo

    ()
    (Rutgers University)

Abstract

Theories of rules and discretion have become a corner stone in the formulation of macroeconomic policy. They 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. With the exception of the two world war periods German monetary policy was geared primarily towards maintaining price stability and characterized by a high degree of formal and practical central bank independence

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 199402.

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Date of creation: 04 Oct 1996
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199402

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Keywords: central bank independence; discretion; Germany; rules;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld, 1991. "The Adjustment Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 3943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Maurice Obstfeld, 1993. "The Adjustment Mechanism," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System: Lessons for International Monetary Reform, pages 201-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Richard C.K. Burdekin & Leroy O. Laney, 1986. "Fiscal policymaking and the central bank institutional constraint," Research Paper 8606, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Fratianni, Michele & von Hagen, J├╝rgen & Waller, Christopher, 1992. "From EMS to EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 618, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Macroeconomics and Politics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1988, Volume 3, pages 13-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  9. 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, July.
  10. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.

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